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.NNALS of 

Volume 63, No. 1 Winter 1991 

In 1895 the state of Wyoming established a department to col- 
lect and preserve materials which interpret the history of 
Wyoming. Today those duties are performed by the Division 
of Parks and Cultural Resources in the Department of Com- 
merce. Located in the department are the State Historical 
Research Library, the State Archives, the State Museum, the 
State Art Gallery, the State Historic Sites, and the State Historic 
Preservation Office. The Department solicits original records 
such as diaries, letters, books, early newspapers, maps, pho- 
tographs and records of early businesses and organizations as 
well as artwork and artifacts for museum exhibit. The Depart- 
ment asks for the assistance of all Wyoming citizens to secure 
these documents and artifacts. 


Mike Sullivan 


Max Maxfield 


David Kathka 

Bill Bruce Hines, Chairman, Gillette 
Orval Meier, Sundance 
Juan "Abe" DeHerrera, Rawlins 
Richard Cornia, Cokeville 
Mary Ellen McWilliams, Sheridan 
Gladys Hill, Douglas 
Ruth Hecker, Lovell 
George Zeimens, Lingle 
Mary Guthrie, Attorney General's 
Office, Ex-officio 


OFFICERS, 1990-1991 

Scott Handley, President, Pine Haven 

Dale J. Morris, First Vice-President, Green River 

Walter Edens, Second Vice-President, Laramie 

Sherry Taylor, Secretary, Casper 

Gladys Hill, Treasurer, Douglas 

David Kathka, Executive-Secretary 

Judy West, State Coordinator 

ABOUT THE COVER — The development of the oil industry has been a significant factor in Wyoming's history. This painting, "Early Day 
Oil Eield — Wyoming" by Dave Paulley, from the Wyoming History in Art Project sponsored by the Wyoming State Historical Society, depicts a 
typical scene of oil production in the Salt Creek area near Midwest, Wyoming, during the 1920s. Oil and other minerals are important to Wyoming 
because of the revenue it brings to the state through the severance tax. For a discussion of the passage of Wyoming's severance tax in 1969 and the 
role Ernest Wilkerson played see "Wyoming's Wealth for Wyoming's People: Ernest Wilkcrson and the Severance Tax — A Study in Wyoming 
Political History, " by Sarah Gorin. 



Volume 63, No. 1 
Winter, 1991 


Rick Ewig, Editor 

Jean Brainerd, Assistant Editor 

Roger Joyce, Assistant Editor 

Ann Nelson, Assistant Editor 

Paula West Chavoya, Photographic Editor 


Michael Cassity 
Roy Jordan 
David Kathka 
William H. Moore 
Robert L. Munkres 
Philip J. Roberts 

ANNALS OF WYOMING was established 
in 1923 to disseminate historical information 
about Wyoming and the West through the 
publication of articles and documents. The 
editors of ANNALS OF WYOMING wel- 
come manuscripts on every aspect of Wyo- 
ming and Western history. 

Authors should submit two typed, double- 
spaced copies of their manuscripts with foot- 
notes placed at the end. Manuscripts submit- 
ted should conform to A MANUAL OF 
STYLE (University of Chicago Press). The 
Editor reserves the right to submit all 
manuscripts to members of the Editorial Ad- 
visory Board or to authorities in the field of 
study for recommendations. Published arti- 
cles represent the view of the authors and are 
not necessarily those of the Division of Parks 
and Cultural Resources, Department of Com- 
merce or the Wyoming State Historical 




Century Black Legislator 2 

by Roger D. Hardaway 


Ernest Wilkerson and the Severance Tax — 

A Study in Wyoming Political History 14 

by Sarah Gorin 


Wyoming's Bentonite « j^— > r ^\r p,~ —u.'C 

by Roger G. Joyce UNlVERSfrY OF WYOMING 


Moynihan, Armitage, and Dichamp, So Much to Be Done: 

Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontier, 

reviewed by Katherine Jensen. 
Bernfeld, Sagebrush Classics, reviewed by Marcia Hensley. 
Parke, Dreams to Dust: A Diary of the California Gold Rush, 

1849-1850, reviewed by Walter Edens. 
Bruhn, Dreams in Dry Places, reviewed by Mark Junge. 
Wilkinson, The American West: A Narrative Bibliography 

and a Study in Regionalism, reviewed by David Kathka. 
McCloud, What Should We Tell Our Children About I'lctnam^ 

reviewed by Rick Ewig. 



ANNALS OF VV\'OMING is publislu-.j (|u,iii,iK In ilu- Himsiou'.iiks ,nul Cul- RcsouK.'s, D.'parlnu-nl of ( lonniun <■. li is i.-,i-i\r,l I.n .ill ninulHis ol ilie \\\oming 
Si, lie llislorual Snnclv as ihr olTi, lal publiiation otih.U o, .^.nn. mi u-u . MeinlHislup dues 
,iiv: Single S'); hnnl %\'1\ Insl ilul ic $20; Life $ 1 "iH; Joini l.ilcS'JlU), Cuireiu uuiuIht- 
sliip IS l,!;!!7. (':,.|.irs n\ puM,.us .Mul MMivnl issues ol'wX \1 ,S ,n,i\ he pm>h,isecl lioiu 
Ilu- f.,lll(.l, (:,.iTesp,Muleil,e sIl.MlKI I ,e .hUmss.cI In (lie IMil,,, \ \ N A I ,S () j ■ W A O \ 11 \ t ; 
ailldes aie ,il ,sl i .1, le, I 111 .iiul Xiueiu.i: llisloiA ,,iul Llle. 

©Copyiigiu I'I'll In ih,- Division i, I Parks ,iikI ( ;iilliir,il Resourees. I)ei)ariiuem of C :oiunuTCC 


Wyoming's Nineteenth Century Black Legislator 

by Roger D. Hard away 


I'hr an/hor gratefully acknowledges receipt of a grant from the Wyoming Council for the Humanities, a 
(iffilialr of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which helped finance the research for this artiilc 


Several thousand Blacks went west during the late 
nineteenth century as a small but vital part of the west- 
ward movement. Like their White counterparts, Blacks 
on the frontier were trappers and traders, soldiers, cow- 
boys, miners, farmers, and entrepreneurs. After the Civil 
War, many Blacks left the South seeking a better life away 
from the Jim Crow society that existed there. Most went 
north, and only a comparative few turned west. Conse- 
quently, until recently, the contributions Blacks made to 
the western frontier have been ignored. During the past 
quarter century, however, historians have attempted, to 
some degree, to chronicle the achievements of Blacks in 
the American West.' This article is an effort to contrib- 
ute to that endeavor by focusing on William Jefferson 
Hardin, a Black man who was twice elected to the Wyo- 
ming Territorial Legislature in an era and from a place 
where Whites greatly outnumbered Blacks and often sub- 
jected them to discriminatory treatment. 

Hardin took an erratic route from his native South 
to the Rocky Mountain West. Born in Kentucky around 
1830, Hardin lived in that state until he reached adult- 
hood. He was never a slave because his mother was a free 
Black and his father was White. Hardin's free status 
allowed him to receive an education, and he subsequently 
became a school teacher in the Kentucky city of Bowling 
Green for a brief period. With the advent of the gold rush 
to California, Hardin decided sometime after 1850 to seek 
his fortune there. He spent the next several years as a wan- 
derer, living in Canada, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska 
before settling in Denver, Colorado, in 1863.^ 

Hardin lived in Denver for a decade, and became a 
leader in the city's Black community. A dynamic speaker, 
he soon became known as the "Colored Orator of Den- 
ver." He advocated integrated public schools and led the 
fight for Black suffrage against formidable White opposi- 

1. The best general .survey of the sulijec I is W. .Sherman Sa\-age, 
Blacks in Ihc ffrv/ (Westport, Connet tic ul : (HcenwcHul Press, i')76). 
See also William Loren Katz, The lilw k W'rsl. rev. e<l. (Carden 
City, New York: Doubleday and Co., l')?.)), whuh rs prolu.sely 
illuslrated. The pioneering hi.storian in ihe field Kemuih Wig- 
gins Porter whose several articles on ihe i<ipii .nc . ollc, i,,| m riir 
Negro on ihr Anirihun Frontier {New York: Ai no Pi ess .nid ilie New 
York I'imes, l'»7l). An early assessineni ol ihe wmk ilmie hv 
recent hisloii.ins m this area is Lawrence H. deCiaal, ■■K.(ogni- 
lio)i, Ka< ism, an.l I i,,iis on die Writing oi W.'sUa n Hku k 
History," I'mijic llislorual Rcciav 11 (P)7r)); 22-51. 

tion. Then, when Congress granted the franchise to Black 
men in all of the territories in 1867, Hardin became an 
important asset to the local Republican party. He helped 
deliver the Black vote for the GOP, and party leaders 
rewarded him for his efforts. In 1872 he was a delegate 
to the Republican National Convention that nominated 
President Ulysses S. Grant for a second term. A more 
lucrative recompense was the job party officials ob- 
tained for him at the Denver branch of the U.S. Mint 
in 1873.:^ 

In the latter year, however, Hardin left Denver with 
his reputation and career in shambles. First, he married 
Nellie Davidson, a White woman from New York who 
worked as a milliner in the Colorado capital. Soon there- 
after, a Black woman calling herself Caroline Hardin came 
to town with proof that she had married Hardin in Ken- 
tucky in 1850, and claiming that this marriage had 
produced a daughter. Moreover, she charged that Hardin 
had moved from Omaha to Denver in 1863 only to avoid 
being drafted into the Union Army. Hardin admitted that 
he had dodged the draft, that he had participated in a mar- 
riage ceremony with the woman, and that he was the 
father of the daughter. He argued, however, that the mar- 
riage to Caroline was illegal and therefore void when it 
was made because he had been a minor and she a slave 
at the time. Hardin was never charged with bigamy or 
any other crime, and he continued to live with Nellie for 
years after his purported marriage to Caroline became 
public knowledge. This episode nevertheless prompted the 
director of the mint to fire him, and Hardin decided to 

2. Cheyenne Daily Sun. November 9, 1879. p. 2; Eugene H. Ber- 
wanger, "William J. Hardin: Colorado Spokesman tor Racial 
Justice, 1863-1873," llie Colorado Magazine 52 {Winter 1975): 52. 
62; Forbes Parkhill, Misirr Barney Ford: A Portrait in Bistre (Den- 
ver: Sage Books, 1963), p. 127; and 1880 Wyoming Census, p. 316. 
copy in Historical Research and Publications, Division of Parks 
and Cultural Resources, Wyoming Department ot Commerce 
(HR&P), Cheyenne. Berwanger places Hardin's vear ot birth at 
1831 because he ihiilvMiine xvlu-n the 1870 Colorado census 
was taken. The 1880 Wvomiii- .ensus, i.iken on June 1, 1880, 
lists Hardin ,is being liKv xeais old ,n that lime. Haidm aKvavs 
claimed his l.ilher the broiher oi Keniuckv Congress- 
man Beniamm H.udin who is prohled in James 1,. Harrison, com- 
piler, Bn,gNi/>lin,i/ nimtinv of the .Ameruau Congress. 1774-1949 
(Washington: I ' .S. Co\ ,-i luiieiii Pi ml m- C Xhi e, I'M'M. p. !2(>5. 

3. llardin'sacliMlicsasa Ic.ulcr ol ilic bl,u k , ,.minunn n in Dciuer 
are delailed in Bci \\ .iii-ei , ■■\\ J, ll.ii.lm," In, Coioiado 
.Magazine 52 (Wmiei l')7:-,): VJ hi. Sec .iKo Iji^cnc 1 1. Berwanger. 
■'Ilardm ,md l.angsion: Western Bkic k Spokesmen olihe Recon- 
siiiu lion k'.ra," Fhe Journal of \egro llistoiy (.1 (Spring 1979): 


WINTER 1991 

leave Denver, where his future looked bleak, and move 
north to Wyoming in late 1873.* 

Hardin settled in Cheyenne and opened a barbershop. 
He had held several jobs while in Colorado, but had bar- 
bered immediately prior to his appointment at the mint. 
He continued to earn his living in this manner during the 
ten years or so that he resided in Wyoming. The typical 
late nineteenth-century barber was Black, and undoubt- 
edly Hardin became well known to Cheyenne's White 
male leaders in part because so many of them frequented 
his establishment. A business directory printed in a 
Cheyenne newspaper in 1878 listed Hardin as one of only 
four barbers in the city, indicating that a significant per- 
centage of Whites in the area used his services. At any 
rate, by the end of the decade of the 1870s, Hardin was 
known and respected by most people in the territory's 
small capital city. The scandal that had forced him out 
of Denver apparently did not in any way limit his accep- 
tance into Cheyenne social and political life.^ 

One interesting aspect of Hardin's makeup that bears 
noting was his physical appearance. The Cheyenne Daily 
Sun described him as being "of slim and slender build, 
five feet ten inches high, weighs 140 pounds . . .; has black 
curly hair with moustache and elfin whiskers of the same 
color and black eyes. Has sharp well cut features, thin 
lips and small mouth, long sharp nose and an orange com- 
plexion." His mother had one White parent, and, thus, 
Hardin was only one-fourth Black. He was very light- 
skinned, and the newspaper portrayed him as having "no 
resemblance in his features to the African race." 
Moreover, the paper concluded, "he looks more like an 
Italian or a Frenchman than a colored man." In the late 
nineteenth century, Blacks who did not have pronounced 
Negroid characteristics were usually more acceptable to 
Whites and more likely to progress in a White-dominated 
society. One Colorado historian has argued that most of 

4. Bcrwanger, "WilliamJ. Hardin," pp. 61-64; and Parkhill, Mis- 
ter Barney Ford, p. 159. Nellie Davidson Hardin's place of birth 
is found in 1880 Wyoming Census, p. 316. Hardin's move to Wyo- 
ming, but not the reasons for it, is mentioned in the Cheyenne Daily 
Sun, November 9, 1879, p. 2. 

5. Cheyenne Daily Sun, November 9, 1879, p. 2; January 29, 1878, 
p. 1; and Berwanger, "WilliamJ. Hardin," p. 53. In 1880 Wyo- 
ming Census, p. 316, Hardin is listed as being a barber. On Blacks 
and the barbering profession, see: Kenneth Wiggins Porter, 
"Foreword," to Elmer R. Rusco, "Good Time Coming?": Black 
Nevadans in the Nineteenth Century (Westport, Connecticut: Green- 
wood Press, 1975), p. xiii; Harmon Mother.shead, "Negro Rights 
in Colorado Territory (1859-1867)," The Colorado Magazine 40 
(1940): 213; and Berwanger, "Hardin and Langston," p. 102. 

the successful Blacks in Denver in the late nineteenth cen- 
tury, including Hardin, were of mixed blood. Another 
has noted that a Denver newspaper editor attributed 
Hardin's intelligence and leadership abilities to the 
"white" blood that he possessed.'' Presumably, his light 
skin was an asset to him in Wyoming as well as in 

Two attributes that were definitely advantages to 
Hardin's political success were his great speaking ability 
and his outgoing personality. Perhaps his march to the 
Wyoming legislature began in March, 1878, when he 
addressed the membership of a local Presbyterian church 
on the evils of alcohol. The Daily Sun reported that it was 
only the second public speech Hardin had made since 
moving to Wyoming. His effort, the paper reported, was 
"frequently interrupted by applause." By the following 
year, Hardin was so well known throughout the city as 
an outstanding orator that he was often called upon to 
address public meetings.^ 

Hardin's ability to make friends is evident in examin- 
ing the manner in which he came to be nominated and 
then elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives 
in 1879. At that time Wyoming had five counties, all of 
which stretched from the southern to the northern borders 
of the territory. Legislators were elected from counties 
according to an apportionment scheme set up by the ter- 
ritorial governor as mandated by Congress. Laramie 
County, where Cheyenne was (and is) located, was the 
most populous county and was entitled to four delegates 
in the Council, the upper chamber, and nine members 
in the House. "^ 

Each party was to nominate candidates at a county 
convention for the general election to be held on Septem- 
ber 2, 1879. On August 7, the Cheyenne Daily Leader, the 

6. Cheyenne Daily Sun, November 9, 1879, p. 2; Lyle W. Dorsett, 
The Queen City: A History oj Denver (Boulder, Colorado: Pruett Pub- 
lishing Co., 1977), p. 53; and Robert G. Athearn, The Coloradans 
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976), p. 80. 
Hardin may have had even less than one-fourth Black blood. Ber- 
wanger, "WilliamJ. Hardin," p. 52, says that Hardin's mother 
was one-fourth Black, making Hardin only one-eighth Black. 
However, Berwanger's source for this statement appears to be 
the Daily Sun article cited above which states that Hardin, not his 
mother, was one-fourth Black. 

7. Cheyenne Daily Sun, March 19, 1878, p. 4. 

8. T.A. Larson, History of Wyoming, 2nd ed., rev. (Lincoln: Univer- 
sity of Nebraska Press, 1978), p. 96; Marie H. Erwin, Wyoming 
Historical Blue Book: A Legal and Political History of Wyoming, 
1868-1943 (Denver: Bradford-Robinson Printing Co., 1946), p. 
137; and Cheyenne Daily Leader. December 14, 1879, p. 4. 


other newspaper in the capital city, proposed the crea- 
tion of a fusion or union ticket made up of both Democrats 
and Republicans. This would, in effect, allow the delegates 
to the two county conventions, rather than the voters, to 
choose the people who would represent Laramie County 
in the legislature. The reason for this proposal, the 
newspaper explained, was that it was difficult to get quali- 
fied candidates who were willing to make enemies and 
spend money to obtain positions that paid little and took 
them away from their occupations. A fusion ticket would 
presumably attract good candidates who would otherwise 
refuse to run. Party leaders assented to the plan, and each 
party agreed to nominate at county conventions two of 
its members for the Council and four for the House. A 
drawing was held for the ninth House seat, and the 
Republicans won that position.^ 

The parties held their conventions at the Cheyenne 
city hall at the same time so that party leaders could keep 
up with the proceedings of the other body. The Republi- 
cans quickly settled on two Council and four House 
nominees. A struggle ensued, however, when the delegates 
sought to choose their fifth House candidate. Three peo- 
ple were being considered for the ballot position, includ- 
ing Hardin who was a delegate to the convention. At this 
point in the proceedings, several Democrats, whose con- 
vention had adjourned, came into the Republican meet- 
ing hall. When the Democrats learned that Hardin was 
in the running for the last position on the bipartisan slate, 
they "electioneered openly for him" among Republican 
delegates. After two ballots, both of which Hardin led. 
Republican leader Francis E. Warren moved that Hardin 
be declared nominated. "The motion was carried," the 
Daily Leader observed, "amid loud cheering." Hardin's 
acceptance speech was applauded by members of both par- 
ties, and "brought down the house."'" 

The Daily Sun editorially praised the selection of 
Hardin as "one of the best nominations made" by the 
two conventions. "Although classed with our colored 
brethren," the newspaper noted, "he has broken down 
race prejudice ... by pre-eminent manifestations of ability 
and upright conduct."" Later, the newspaper published 

a long biography of Hardin in which it lauded his perso- 

He is very neat and tidy in his dress, modest and unas- 
suming, polite and agreeable in his manners, treating every 
man as a gentleman and every woman as a lady, regardless 
of their dress, position or circumstance. He has a happy 
faculty of making friends among all classes of people, and 
... he knows how to keep them after he has made them. 
These qualities . . . have made him popular with the people.'^ 

Hardin, like all other candidates on the fusion ticket, 
believed that his nomination assured him of election. That, 
however, was not to be the case. Some people in Cheyenne 
began to complain about the manner in which the slate 
had been chosen. A leading dissenter was Herman 
Glafcke, editor of the Daily Leader and the person who had 
conceived the idea of the united ticket. When the two par- 
ties held their conventions, Glafcke was out of town on 
business. When he returned, he was chagrined to learn 
that the editor of the Daily Sun, Edward A. Slack, was one 
of the candidates for the Council. Not only were these 
two men rival editors of the only newspapers in town, they 
had been political enemies since at least 1873 when Slack 
had advocated Glafcke 's removal from the position of 
secretary of the territory. At any rate, a convention of 
"workingmen" met at city hall on the Friday night before 
the Tuesday general election and nominated a second 
group of candidates for the legislature. One of these 
nominees was Glafcke, who was now a candidate for the 
Council against Slack and others.'-' 

When the workingmen's convention met, Hardin 
made a calculated political move that could ha\e back- 
fired, but ultimately proved to be beneficial to him: he 
attended the convention as a spectator. After the delegates 
chose their thirteen legislative nonfinees, the\' urged 
Hardin to make a speech prior to adjourning. Such con- 
duct by Hardin could have upset those supporting the 
i'usion ticket. Instead, however, it indirectly guaranteed 
his election because the day after the ciinxontion met. toin- 
of the nominees who had not attended the gathering 
declined lo rim. The backers of the workingmen's nune- 
menl iiislied (o fill those places on their ballot, and the\- 
oflered one of the House- i)ositions lo llardiii. Thus, he 
went into the election as a nonnnee on both tickets." 

9. Cheyenne Daily Sun, September 2, 1879, p. 4 (reprint of cdilori; 
that appeared in the Cheyenne Daily Leader. August 7, IH79); an 
Cheyenne Daily Leader , August 19, p. 4, Augusi '21, p. 1, aTul Augu 
:«), 1879, p. 4. 

10. Cheyenne Daily Leader, Augusi 19, p. 4, and August 21, 187!), | 
4. See also Cheyenne Daily Sun. August 21, 1879, p. 1. 

11. Cheyenne Daily Sun, August 22, 1879, p. 4. 

12. Cheyenne Daily Sun. No\ cniluT 9. 1879, p. 2. 
i:5. Cheyenne Daily Sun. Augusi M). 187'», p. 1; Cheyenne Daily Leader. 
.Scptcuihrr 1, 1879, p. 2; .uul, I Intory of Wyoniino, p. 125. 
14. Cheyenne Daily Leader, .\ugusi iU). p. 4. antl .\ !) 1 . 1879. p. 4. 


WINTER 1991 

Obviously, Hardin had support among all political 
factions in Cheyenne. Not surprisingly, Blacks in the city 
were elated with his nomination and supported him whole- 
heartedly. They held a meeting and drafted a resolution 
that was published in the Daily Sun on the morning of the 
election. In the declaration, they praised Hardin and the 
White political leaders who had supported his nomina- 
tion. "We believe him to be a good man," their state- 
ment said, "and one who is worthy of this position . . . . 
We rejoice to know that our white fellow-citizens were 
mindful enough of the colored race to give them one 
representative in Wyoming Territory."''' 

The fact that Hardin had many friends in Cheyenne 
and strong support among those friends is evident in an 
analysis of the election returns. For the House, each voter 
was allowed to vote for nine candidates, and the nine peo- 
ple with the most votes would be elected. Hardin won eas- 
ily, finishing third among all candidates. One additional 
victor was endorsed by both the fusion and the working- 
men's tickets, while the other winners included four fusion 
candidates and three members of the workingmen's slate. 
The four Council seats were taken by one person endorsed 
by both factions, one fusion candidate, and two working- 
men. Thus, the strength of the two tickets was roughly 

equal, and Hardin could easily have lost had he not been 
on both tickets."' 

Hardin did much better in the city of Cheyenne than 
in the rural precincts of Laramie County. Sixteen candi- 
dates were running for the nine county House seats. These 
included the nine fusion candidates and seven additional 
workingmen's nominees. Hardin finished second among 
all candidates in Cheyenne, winning 903 votes from the 
1,256 people who cast ballots there; thus, 79.1 percent 
of Cheyenne's voters gave one of their nine votes to 
Hardin. In the rural precincts, however, only 29.1 per- 
cent of the electorate supported him. There, he received 
eighty-five votes from 292 voters and finished fifteenth 
among the candidates. Thus, he did very well among his 
fellow city dwellers, but not well at all among rural voters 

15. Cheyenne Daily Sun, September 2, 1879, p. 4. 

Official election returns are reproduced in Cheyenne Daily Leader, 
September 14, 1879, p. 4; and in Erwin, Wyoming Historical Blue 
Book, pp. 224-225. Hardin received 988 votes from 1,548 voters; 
63.8 percent of the electorate voted for him. Herman Glafcke was 
elected to the Council while Edward Slack was defeated. 
Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 14, 1879, p. 4; and Erwin, Wyo- 
ming Historical Blue Book, pp. 224-225. Three other people who 
had been nominated on the workingmen's ticket but later with- 
drew received a few scattered votes from the rural precincts prob- 
ably because the ballots sent to those precincts were printed before 
they announced their withdrawals. 





Candidates in 






order of finish 







S.K. Sharpless 







John E. Davis 







W.J. Hardin 







W.H. Hibbard 







W.C. Irvine 







Thomas Conroy 







E.W. Mann 







J.S. Taylor 







B.F. Deitrick 







Peter Hamma 







D.C. Tracy 







R.B. Horrie 







J.R. Whitehead 







I.N. Bard 







Milton Taylor 







F.L. Greene 







H.B. Kelly 






E. Nagle 






T.N. Shanks 






= Elected 

Figures are from the C 1 

Lcidn, Srpinnhcr 14, 1879, /;. 4. 


who surely did not know him as well as did Cheyen- 

Another obvious observation is that most Cheyenne 
voters exhibited no racial prejudice. Certainly, some 
Whites refused to vote for a Black man, but the number 
was so small as to be insignificant. Rural voters, however, 
must have allowed race to affect their voting behavior to 
a great extent. The other House candidate endorsed by 
both factions finished first in both Cheyenne and the rural 
areas. One would expect Hardin, the only other candi- 
date with a dual endorsement, to finish at least second 
in the rural precincts as he did in the city. Had he been 
as well known among rural voters as he was with city 
dwellers perhaps he would have received more rural votes. 
But the difference between his city and rural results is so 
great that racial prejudice is the only plausible explana- 

Further evidence of the racial tolerance of Cheyenne's 
1879 White voters is found in examining the demographics 
of Laramie County. This can best be done by studying 
the 1880 Wyoming census. In that year, only 194 (or 3 
percent) of the 6,409 people counted by the census bureau 
in the county were Black; most of them lived in Cheyenne. 
Just how many Blacks voted in 1879 is not known, but 
the number was obviously small — less than 194. Hardin's 
margin of victory over the losing candidate with the most 
votes, the person who finished tenth, was 263 votes. Had 
every Black person in Laramie County been eligible to 
vote in 1879 and had all voted for Hardin, he would 
nevertheless have had enough White votes to be elected. 
Consequently, Hardin's election shows that, compared 
to other frontier areas and even rural Laramie County, 
the voters of Cheyenne were remarkably free of racial 
prejudice in 1879. The Daily Leader agreed, calling 
Hardin's election "a moral triumph for the people." 
Moreover, the paper added, "what other territory or 
northern state can boast of such liberality?"'^ 

18. Cheyenne Daily Lmder, September 14, 1879, p. 4; and Ervvin, Wyo- 
ming Historical Blue Book, pp. 224-225, 

19. Cheyenne Daily Leader, Se]jteniber 4, p. 4, and Scpiember 14, 187!), 
p. 4; Erwin, VVyomint^ Hislorual Blur Book, |)p. 224-22r); and Com- 
pendium of the I'rnth Census (fuiir I. 1880), Com/i/Ird Puruiaut to An 
Act of Congress Approved August 7, 1882, Pari 1 (\Vaslli^^l()n: Ll.S. 
Government Printing Offiee, 1883), p. :57'). lioiiuallv, die 1880 
Wyoming Crnuiy p. :!!(;, inc ui redlv Iisl<-d I la: dm as beiiii; While. 
The only Ciller I'.la. k p.i .s(,ii ,l,-, i,d m ,, siai.-m trMiiunal legis- 
lature out.side the Sonlh m 187') was ( ieori;.' Wasiim-i. ui Wil- 
liams of Ohio. Letter to aulhor Irom (iarv j. Ariuild, ( )Iih, 1 lislor- 
ieal Society, May 23, 1990. 

The Sixth Legislative Assembly met in Cheyenne for 
forty days, from November 4 to December 13, 1879. 
Hardin was appointed to only one of the sixteen stand- 
ing committees of the House, the relatively minor one of 
Indian and Military Affairs. He was also the House 
representative on a two-man Joint Standing Committee 
on Printing which was likewise not a choice assignment. 
That Hardin was not given better committee assignments 
is puzzling since Republicans held sixteen of the twenty- 
seven House seats, and the Speaker of the House and 
Hardin were friends. Perhaps Hardin was appointed to 
the committees on which he wished to serve, or perhaps 
the House leadership was reluctant to assign a Black legis- 
lator to more significant committees. Another possible fac- 
tor is that House members did not simply line up on issues 
by party affiliation. Some of the more important issues 
facing the lawmakers were sectional in nature, with 
representatives from outside Laramie County seeking to 
move the capital west and attempting to reapportion the 
legislature by shifting seats from Laramie County to the 
state's other regions. Thus, the Speaker, who was from 
Albany County, perhaps believed that he should gi\'e 
choice committee assignments to his western supporters 
regardless of party membership. 2° 

Hardin lived up to his reputation as a distinguished 
orator during the 1879 session of the Wyoming legisla- 
ture. When, on opening day, the members of the House 
selected H.L. Myrick as Speaker, Hardin was chosen to 
make the speech introducing the new leader to the 
representatives. On at least one occasion he was called 
upon to sit in the Speaker's chair to preside o\er the House 
when it met as a committee of the whole. Perhaps the two 
most memorable speeches of the session were Hardin's 
opposing the move of the capital from Cheyenne to the 
city of Laramie, and resisting a reapportionment bill that 
would have cost Laramie County seats in the legislature. 
On both occasions, the gallery of the House was packed 
with local citizens who applauded KnulK their represen- 
tative's stirring words.-' 

Hardin iiilioduced six bills during (he Sixth Lt-gisla- 
tive Assemblw The sul)jects of those inc-asuivs tanged from 
buiitling ienccs and killing chic kt'ii liaw ks to setting salaries 

20. Chrrenur Dailv Leader. IVeember 14, 1879. pp. 4-5; and Krwiii 
Wyomnig llisloiiral Blur Hook. p. 1(.2. 

21. Chryrnur Daily Suu. N(.\(-ml)er5. 1879, p. 4; Chryrnnr Daily Lrada 
neeemberl. 1879. p. 1; l.aniinir Srutnirl. IVeember 20, 1879, y 
2; and C.C. Com, ml, "llisicrv of Wn ,nuim;. Written bv C.G 
Coulani, I'lone.-r 1, ,md I leieiot.Mv I npublislu-d, CU,\\ 
(er XXII," Auuals oj ll'yomnig 11 (.\piil 1!»-12): 151. 


WINTER 1991 

of county officials. Anyone reviewing the 1879 legislative 
journals and laws passed at that session, however, has 
difficulty determining just what effect Hardin had on the 
legal history of territorial Wyoming. For example, the bill 
Hardin introduced concerning county officials' salaries 
was replaced by a committee substitute measure. The bill 
I hat was ultimately enacted is printed in the 1879 session 
laws, but Hardin's bill in its original form has not been 
preserved. Thus, how much of the final law came from 
Hardin's proposal is not known. '^ 

Moreover, bills are mentioned in the legislative jour- 
nals only by their titles and, if the measures never became 
law, no way exists to determine the content of those bills. 
One of Hardin's bills, regulating the construction of wire 
fences, was amended to delete a section. Hardin moved 
to put the clause back in and, when this motion was 
defeated, he was forced to vote against his own measure. 
But the journals do not explain what Hardin's original 
bill proposed nor what was in the crucial section removed 
against his wishes. Another of Hardin's proffered statutes 
proposed "to bind out and apprentice certain minors," 
but no explanation of what he had in mind on this sub- 

22. Cheyenne Daily Leader, December 14, 1879, pp. 4-5; and Session Laws 
of Wyoming Territory, Passed by the Sixth Legislative Assembly, Convened 
at Cheyenne, November 4, 1879 (Cheyenne: Leader Steam Book and 
Job Printing, 1879), chapter 35, pp. 74-87. 

Chapter 46. 

Hawks and Eagles— Bounty For. 

An Act tor the Destruction of Hawks and Eagles. 

Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of 
the Territury of Wyoming : 

Section 1. The county commissioners of the various 
counties in this Territory are hereby authorized and 
required to encourage the destruction of hawks and 
eagles by making payment out of the county fund to any 
person who shall engage iu the destruction of hawlo or 
eagles, the sura of twenty-tive cents for each hawk or 
eagle killed by suuh person. The [)erson so engaged who 
may desire the compensation above named shall present 
to the chairman of the board of connty commissioners of 
the county, in which the hawks or eagles were killed, 
the heads of such hawks and eagles claimed to 
have Iteen killed, together with an affidavit, t.hat the 
hawk or eagle from which said head was taken, was 
killed in the county by the person presenting said head, 
which head and affidavit, shall be evidence that the hawk 
or eaijle was killed by the person so produein>r it. It 

ject exists. The title of another Hardin bill, however, gives 
some indication of the legislator's philosophy even though 
this law, too, never passed. That measure was designed 
"to prevent non-tax payers from voting at elections for 
the issuing of bonds or imposing taxes. " The taxes referred 
to were property assessments, and Hardin, who had 
become a property owner in Cheyenne in April, 1878, 
did not want his property taxes raised by those who would 
not have to bear the burden of a tax increase.-^ 

Two of Hardin's proposed laws were enacted. One, 
"to protect dairymen," is impossible to track through the 
1879 session laws under that title or subject matter. This 
is not surprising when one realizes that Hardin's other 
successful bill, "to protect poultry," was renamed "an 
act for the destruction of hawks and eagles" before its final 
enactment. This latter law is an interesting one, and the 
nature of its contents suggests to some degree what was 
important to the residents of a sparsely populated front- 
ier territory in the late nineteenth century. Hardin's origi- 
nal idea was to protect poultry by establishing a bounty 
for chicken hawks. This bill breezed through the House, 
twenty-five to zero, with two legislators absent. The Coun- 
cil, however, wanted a bounty on eagles as well, and 
amended the bill. When the House voted again on the 
measure, as amended by the Council, the vote was a nar- 
row sixteen to eleven in favor of passage. One of the "no" 
votes was cast by a member who was absent when the 
first vote was taken, but the other ten dissenters were legis- 
lators who had supported the original proposal, but could 
not bring themselves to advocate the demise of a bird, 
one species of which was a symbol of the country. The 
law as passed required the territory's county commissions 
to pay a twenty-five cent reward to anyone killing a hawk 
or eagle. To claim the money, a person had to present 
to the commissioners the head of the dead bird and an 
affidavit attesting that the person claiming the bounty had 
killed the predator.'* 

One of the more significant bills passed by the Sixth 
Legislative Assembly changed the meeting dates of future 
territorial legislatures. Instead of convening in Novem- 
ber of odd-numbered years, legislatures would now meet 
beginning in January of even-numbered years starting 

During the 187') legislative session Hardin introduced a hill ' 'to protect poultry 
which became "An Act for the Destruition ol Hawks and Eagles. " 

2.3. House Journal 1879. p. 197, typescript copy with no date or place 
olliuhlicaiidn in Wyoming State Archives, Division of Pari<s and 
(hillural Resources, Wyoming Department of Commerce, 
(Hieyenne; Cheyenne Daily Leader, December 14, 1879, pp. 4-5; and 
Deed Record, Laramie County, Wyoming, Deed Booi<J, pp. 164-165. 

24. Cheyenne Daily Leader, December 12, 1879, pp. 4-5; House Journal 
1879. pp. 94, 124, 1,32; and Session Laws of Wyoming Territory . . . 
1879, chapter 46, pp. 101-102. 



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Wyoming's Seventh Legislative Assembly met on the first floa/ of Cheyenne's Opera House from January 10, 1882, until March 10, 1882 

with 1882. Although the law was silent on the dates of 
election, future territorial assemblies were chosen at the 
regular general elections held in November of even- 
numbered years. Thus, the Seventh Legislative Assem- 
bly was elected in November, 1880, but did not meet until 
January, 1882. This fourteen-month space between elec- 
tions and meetings continued for the remaining legisla- 
tures of the territorial period, whic h ended in 1890.-"' 

Hardin was the only House member ol the Sixth 
Legislative Assembly to serve in the House during the 
seventh session. One Laramie County representative, B.f\ 
Deitrick, lost his re-election 1)1(1, and nnodu-r, VV.C. 
Irvine, successfully ran for the (loiuu il as did Re|)resen- 

25. Session Laws of U'yoninig Territoty . . . 1879, cliaplcr 52, p. 109; 
I'rwiii, Wyoming Union, al Blue Hook. pj). 1 :5H- 1 :i'); ;in(l l.aison. 
History oj Wyoming, p. 1!5(). 

tative W.A. Hocker of Uinta County. Most members, 
however, retired after tlu'ir one term was completed. A 
possible reason for this is that service in the legislature 
was less an honor than a ci\ic dutw With onl\ 20.789 
people in the territory in 1880, \\'\-onHng"s i)opulation 
was equivalent to that of many small towns, and ser\ ing 
in the legislature was perhaps perceixt'd as nuu h like being 
a member of llu- c il\- council. SurcK . most nuMubers o{ 
the legislature were not there to launch political c arcc-rs.-" 
At the 1880 Laramie Count\- Reiniblican jiartx mn- 
N'ention, the firsi order ol business was selei ling lour c ,ui- 
(lid.iles lor seals in ihe Couiu il. 1 lardin in uniiKilcd. 

2(.. Krvvin, Wyoming llislorital Blue Book. pp. 1(V2- 1 (vi ; .iiul (.Vw/vr,- 
,1, urn of the leuth Census, p.ul 1, p. 2. ll,ii>lni lumscHrcin.ukrcl 
in a spccdi .ii llu- 1»79 {..iraiiiu- ('.ouiii\ RcpuMu .m roiwciiiiou 
ihal 11 was cliriu nil U. coiu iiuv <|U.iliru-d people i„ run lor tlu- le-is- 
laluir, Cheyenne Daily Leader, .\ugusi 21. 1879. p. -1. 


WINTER 1991 

but finished fifth in the balloting. When convention 
delegates considered possible nominees for the House, 
Hardin's name was again placed before the convention. 
The legislator declined to run, however, and asked that 
his name be withdrawn. Nevertheless, he received the 
eighth most votes, making him one of the party's 
nominees. Hardin again asked to be allowed to withdraw 
from consideration, but the conventioneers refused his 
request and declared him a nominee.-^ 

Laramie County voters were allowed to elect only 
eight members of the House in 1880. Congress, which 
controlled many territorial affairs, had passed a law limit- 
ing the size of all territorial legislatures to twelve mem- 
bers in the upper house and twenty-four in the lower 
chamber. Thus, Wyoming's Seventh Legislative Assem- 
bly had three fewer House members than did the sixth 
assembly, and Laramie County's representation in the 
House decreased from nine to eight. Consequently, county 
voters in 1880 voted for eight House candidates, and the 
top eight vote-getters were elected. ^^ 

The election was held on November 2, 1880. Unlike 
1879, the Democrats and Republicans did not have a 
fusion ticket; however, a workingmen's slate was once 
again offered to the electorate. In the House races, the 
workingmen endorsed three Republicans (including 
Hardin), three Democrats, and two candidates who were 
not on the tickets of either major party. Thus, eighteen 
candidates were on the ballot — eight Republicans, eight 
Democrats, and two workingmen. ^^ 

Hardin barely won his second term in the Wyoming 
House of Representatives. He finished eighth among the 
candidates, receiving 1,277 votes, a mere fifty-eight bal- 
lots ahead of his closest rival. Hardin had the sixth highest 
vote total in Cheyenne. However, once again, he fared 
poorly in the outlying regions of the county, garnering 
only the fifteenth most votes. Thus, as in 1879, he won 
his victory in the city and overcame racial prejudice and 
few votes in the rural precincts. ^° 

Moreover, support from the workingmen's organi- 
zation helped Hardin win in 1880. He openly courted that 

support, speaking to a workingmen's rally a few days 
before the election. All three Republicans endorsed by the 
workingmen for seats in the House were victorious. Addi- 
tionally, Hardin was aided by the fact that 1880 was a 
Republican year in Laramie County, as six of the eight 
House seats went to the GOP. Several possibilities, 
however, suggest themselves as to why he did no better 
than he did after having made such an impressive show- 
ing the year before. For one thing, his reluctance to seek 
re-election might have given some voters the impression 
that he did not really want the seat again. Secondly, he 
undoubtedly made some enemies during his first term 
although published reports of his service were uniformly 
positive. Perhaps, too, the fact that most incumbents did 
not seek re-election to the House indicates that tradition 
generally limited legislators to one term in office, a prac- 
tice that prevailed in some areas of the country in the late 
nineteenth century. Finally, the fact that the Democrats 
had a full slate of candidates to support in 1880 prevented 
some of Hardin's friends in that party from voting for 
him. 31 

The seventh assembly met from January to March, 
1882. Although the majority of the Laramie County dele- 
gation was from the Republican party, the Democrats held 
more seats in the House of Representatives than did the 
GOP. This, of course, would presumably have affected 
adversely Hardin's ability to be effective. Nevertheless, 
as the only returning member, he was given a committee 
chairmanship, that of the relatively unimportant Engross- 
ment Committee. Moreover, as in the 1879 session, he 
occasionally presided over the House when it met as a 
committee of the whole. ^^ 

Hardin introduced three bills in the 1882 legislative 
session. One, concerned with "running cattle with dogs," 
was defeated easily in the House. Another, having to do 
with amending the law that incorporated Cheyenne, 
apparently expanded the city's borders and became law. 
The third, which was also enacted, made it a misdemeanor 
to "exhibit any kind of fire arms, bowie knife, dirk, dag- 
ger, slung [sic] shot or other deadly weapon in a rude, 

27. Cheynirw Daily Lmder, October 13, 1880, p. 4. Hardin was also 
flc'ctccl to a two-year term on the ( ounty Repiililican |3arty execu- 
tive committee. 

28. Erwin, Wyomirii^ Hutorical Blue lUiak, p. \'.')\\\ ■Am\ Chryrnnc Daily 
Leader, October i;5, 1880, j). 4. 

29. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 30, 1880, j). 1 of sup|)lemenl . 
.30. Cheyenne Daily Leader, November 6, p. 4, and Noveml^er 14, 1880, 

p. 4; and F,rwin, Wyoming Historical Blur Book. p. 231. 

31. Erwin, Wyomiiiii Historical Blue Book, p. 231; and Cheyenne Daily 
Leader, October 31, p. 4, and November 14, 1880, p. 4. 

32. Erwin, Wyoming Historical Blue Book, p. 139; Cheyenne Daily Leader, 
January 18, p. 4, Februarv 17, p. 4, and March 9, 1882, p. 1: 
Cheyenne Daily Sun. February 17, p. 1, and March 9, 1882, p. 1; 
and Larson, Llistory of Wyoming, p. 1!58. 



Chapter 81. 


AN ACT to Preserve the Public Peace by preventing the Displyy of Kniv( ;- 
and other Deadly Weapons in the Presence of One or More Persons. 

Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representative f^ 

of the Territory of Wyoming: 

Section 1. Whoever shall in the presence of one 
or more persons exhibit any kind of fire arms, bowie 
knife, dirk, dagger, slung shot or other deadly weapon in a 
rude, angry or threatening manner not necessary to the 
defense of his person, family or property, shall be deemed 
guilty of a misdemeaoor and on conviction thereof shall 
be punished by a fine of not less than ten dollars nor 
more than five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in 
the county jail not exceeding six months or by botli 
such fine and imprisonment. 

Sec. 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from 
and after its passage and approval. 

Approved March 4, 1882. 

Hardin introduced a bill during the Seventh Legislative 
Assembly to protect the public peace. 

angry or threatening manner," except in the defense of 
self, family, or property. ^^ 

One bill Hardin wanted passed was introduced by 
another member at his request in an attempt to avoid the 
appearance of a conflict of interest. This proposed law 
would have prohibited barbershops from opening on Sun- 
days. This prompted Hardin's fellow barber, George P. 
Goldacker, who knew who the author of the bill was, to 
write an angry letter to the Daily Leader criticizing the meas- 
ure. Goldacker argued that some people who were 
employed by the Union Pacific Railroad or on ranches 
had to work on other days and could visit their barbers 
only on Sundays. Furthermore, Goldacker declared, 'Tf 
the gentleman [Hardin] has too much money, or his 
religion does not allow him to work on Sunday, he has 
the right to close up his place of business, the same as 
I have the right to open mine. ... II' you close barber 

33. Cheyenne Daily Leader, January 26, p. 4, and l'\-l)ruary 10, 1!U!2, 
p. 1 ; House Journal of the Seventh Legislative Assembly of the Territory 
of Wyoming, Convened at Cheyenne, January 10, J 882 (Cheyenne: Sun 
Steam Book and Job Printing, 1882), pp. 40, 45, 63, 67, 71; .SVv- 
sion Laws, Wyoming Territory, Passed by the Seventh Legislative Assem- 
bly, Convened at Cheyenne, Jnnimry 10, 1 882 {CAwyvnwv: Sun Sicaiii 
Book and Job I'riiilin^, 1»H2), (h,ipicr»l, p. 171; ;nid Chn'oinr 
Daily Sun, Maixii 11, 1HH2, \^. 1. 

shops, close every business; if you let one open, give the 
barbers the same right." Evidently, Goldacker's logic was 
persuasive because, although the bill easily passed the 
House, it died in the Council and did not become law.-'"*^ 
Perhaps the two most important laws passed during 
the seventh session of the territorial legislature won 
Hardin's support. One repealed a prohibition on inter- 
racial marriages and the other granted married women 
several rights. Both measures were significant actions for 
a territory that prided itself on treating everyone equalh'. 
Hardin, whose wife was White, delivered one o{ his 
patented moving speeches in support of remo\ing the 
interracial marriage ban. The Daily Leader describcti his 
oration as "earnest and eloquent, bristling with facts." 
The law had been enacted in 1869 1)\- the First Legisla- 
tive Assembly, but apparenlK it was not unitorniK- 
enforced. Hardin was i)r()babl\- not in \ iolalion (ifllu' law 
since the statute made it a t rime lor an interr.u ial i duple 
to marry in the leiritorw but not necessai il\ lo li\e \\\ 
VVvoniing whiU' married. The Haiclins had ni.nrietl. 

House Journal of the Seventh Legislative As 
and Cheyenne Daily Leader. March K p. : 

>hly. pp 
md 1\1) 



WINTER 1991 

Hardin supported the bill which successfully repealed in 

1882 the law passed in 1869 by the First Legislative 

Assembly which prohibited inter-racial marriages. The state 

legislature in 1913 unanimously passed Wyoming's second 

law which prohibited the ' 'marriage of white persons with 

Negroes. Mulattoes, Mongolians or Malays. ' ' The state 

legislature repealed the law in 1965. 

Chapter 54 


AN ACT to Repeal An Act Entitled An Act to Prevent Intermarriage Be- 
tween White Persons and those of Neero or Mongolian Blood. 

Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives 

of the Territory of Wyoming : 

Section 1. That the act entitled "An Act to Prevent 
Intermarriage between White Persons and those of Ne- 

Ero or Mongolian Blood," chapter 64 of the Compiled 
aws of Wyoming 1876, be and the same is hereby re- 

Sec. 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from 
and after its passage and approval. 
Approved March 7, 1882. 

as previously mentioned, before moving to the terri- 

The statute concerning married women was designed 
to remove many restrictions that had been imposed upon 
Wyoming women under the Common Law. Wyoming's 
action was part of a trend by legislatures in the late 
nineteenth century to grant women some small measure 
of equality, and such a law was only fitting in Wyoming 
which had become in 1869 the first jurisdiction in the U.S. 
to provide for woman suffrage. The law allowed a mar- 
ried woman to sell her property without obtaining her hus- 
band's permission, to sue and be sued without her spouse 
being made a party to the action, and to be a witness in 
any civil or criminal matter. ^^'' 

Hardin did not run for a third term in the Wyoming 
House of Representatives. On the day the Republican 
county convention met in October, 1882, the Daily Leader 
reported that Hardin's name was being suggested as a 
candidate once again. However, the account of that meet- 
ing in the newspaper's next edition does not mention him 
as having been in attendance. ^^ Apparently, he convinced 

Cheyenne Daily Leader, February 18, 1882, p. \\Srsuiw Laws. W'yo- 
ming 'Territory . . . 1882, chapter 54, p. 134; and House Journal of 
the Seventh Legislative Assembly, p. 93. For a detailed examination 
of Wyoming's 1869 interracial marriage law and a second one 
enacted in 1913, see Roger D, Hardaway, "Prohibiting Inter- 
racial Marriage: Miscegenation Laws in Wyoming," Annals of 
Wyoming 52 (Spring 1980): 55-60. 

Homer H. Clark, Jr., I'he Law of Domrslii Relations in the United 
Slates (St. Paul, Minnesota: West I'ublishing Co., 1968), pp. 
219-222; Session Laws, Wyoming 'Trniliny 1882, chapter 68, 

[)|). 154-155; and House Journal of the Seventh Legislative Assembly, 
J). 148. 
Cheyenne Daily Leader, Olobcr 14, p. ['> , and Odober 15, 1882, p. 3. 

party leaders beforehand that he did not wish to run again. 
His term ended presumably in January, 1884, when the 
Eighth Legislative Assembly was sworn in, but he appar- 
ently had no duties after the 1882 session adjourned in 
March of that year. Legislatures of that era did not have 
committees that met throughout the vear as they do now, 
and the Seventh Legislative Assembly did not meet in any 
special sessions after the regular term ended. Still, it is 
accurate to say that Hardin was a territorial representa- 
tive from November, 1879, to January, 1884. 

Hardin's life after he left the Wyoming legislature is 
a mystery. He and his wife sold their Cheyenne real 
property in 1881 and 1882, perhaps in contemplation of 
leaving the city. A business directory for Cheyenne dated 
"1884-85" does not list Hardin as one of the city's 
barbers, indicating he and his wife left town by 1884. Some 
historians have written that Hardin lived and held politi- 
cal office in both Utah and Colorado after he left Wyo- 
ming. The source of this information is a letter written 
by Hardin's grandson in 1956. The grandson, the child 
of Hardin's daughter from his first marriage, wrote to the 
clerk of the Wyoming House of Representatives seeking 
information on his grandfather's Wyoming experiences. 
In the letter, the grandson declared that after Hardin left 
Wyoming, he went to Park City, Utah, and then to Lead- 
ville, Colorado. Moreover, he stated that Hardin had been 
elected mayor of each town twice before dying in Lead- 
ville in 1889 or 1890. In fact, Hardin never served as 
mayor of either town, and the date and place of his death 
cannot be confirmed. '" Why Hardin and his wife left 
Cheyenne is also unknown, but perhaps the wanderlust 
that had taken him from Kentucky to the West some thirty 
years before caused him to move on once again. 



William Jefferson Hardin is a significant figure in the 
history of Wyoming and of Blacks in the West. After a 
successful career in Denver was ruined by scandal, Hardin 
relocated to an area with only a tiny number of Blacks. 
Yet, he became a well-liked and respected member of the 
entire Cheyenne community. And although he was a loyal 
Republican, he had many friends in the Democratic party 
and in all political factions that existed in the frontier cap- 
ital city. His two elections attest to his personality and 
speaking ability and to the liberal attitude of the White 
men and women whose votes were largely responsible for 
putting him into office. 

Hardin's primary importance lies not in what he 
accomplished as a legislator, although some of his votes 

38. Deed Record, Laramie County, Wyoming, Deed Book 5, pp. 270-272, 
and Deed Book 15, pp. 110-112; A.R. Johnson, compiler, 
1884-1885 Residence and Business Directory of Cheyenne (Cheyenne: 
The Leader Printing Co., 1884-1885), p. 114. William H. Morris 
to Clerk of Records, House of Representatives, Wyoming State 
Legislature, July 1956, in William Jefferson Hardin vertical file, 
HR&P; letter to author from Sandra C. King, City Recorder, 
Park City, Utah, August 3, 1987; letter to author from Sherrill 
Warford, Historical Research Volunteer, Historical Research 
Cooperative, Leadville, Colorado, August 8, 1987. An article on 
Hardin that perpetuates the errors in the Morris letter is Frank 
N. Schubert, "Hardin, William Jefferson," in Rayford W. Logan 
and Michael R. Winston, eds.. Dictionary of American Negro Biog- 
raphy (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1982), p. 287. 

39. Hardin's legislative career has been examined briefly in Rick 
Ewig, "Wyoming's First Black Legislator," which appeared in 
several Wyoming newspapers including the Laramie Boomerang, 
March 2, 1986. The two premier volumes on Blacks in the West 
ignore Hardin's legislative service. Katz, The Black West, does not 
even mention Hardin. Savage, Blacks in the West, discusses 
Hardin's activities in Denver but not in Wyoming. Neither author 
was aware, at the time he wrote his book, that Wyoming had had 
a Black legislator during the late nineteenth century. 

40. See, for example, Cheyenne Daily Sun, August 30, 1879, p. 4; and 
Cheyenne Daily Leader, December 16, 1879, p. 4. 

were significant ones. His support of women's rights and 
racial equality and his opposition to efforts to move 
Wyoming's capital from Cheyenne are all noteworthy. 
His tenure in the Wyoming legislature is principally sig- 
nificant, however, because it occurred when and where 
it did — in an area with few Blacks and in an era when 
Blacks were generally not allowed to participate in politi- 
cal decision-making. Hardin and his fellow citizens broke 
down racial barriers when he ran and they elected him 
twice to represent their interests in the legislature.^^ 
Undoubtedly, Hardin endured some discriminatory treat- 
ment in Cheyenne just as he had in Denver and elsewhere 
throughout his life. Some people did not vote for him 
because of his race. Cheyenne newspaper editors, while 
lauding his achievements, nevertheless felt compelled to 
refer to him as the "colored orator" and the "colored legis- 
lator. "^° But the majority of Cheyenne's voters viewed 
him simply as a community leader who just happened to 
be Black. His political success, therefore, makes him a 
significant figure in Wyoming territorial history while it 
also serves as one dramatic example of the positive con- 
tributions Blacks made to the settlement of the American 
West in the late nineteenth century. 

ROGER D. HARDA WA Y is an Assistant Professor of History 
at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma. 
Previously, he was Instructor of History and Political Science at 
Eastern New Mexico University-Clovis, now Clevis Community 
College. He received a B.S. from Middle Tennessee State Univer- 
sity and a B.S.Ed, and J.D. from Memphis State University. 
He has an M.A. in history from New Mexico State University. 
an M.A. T. in history from the University of Wyoming, and an 
M.A. in political science from Eastern New Mexico University. 
He has completed coursework for the Doctor of Arts in history from 
the University of North Dakota, where he also served as an adjunct 
history instructor. 



Ernest Wilkerson and the Severance Tax 
A Study in Wyoming Poiiticai History 

by Sarah Gorin 

The author gratefully acknowledges receipt of a grant from the Wyoming Council for the Humanities, a 
'iffiliale oj the National Endowment for the Humanities, which helped finance the research for this urtnle 



/ have always felt that Ernie did more in his losing cam- 
paign for governor in 1966 by fighting for the sever- 
ance tax, more for Wyoming in perpetuity, than any- 
thing else he might have done with his life .... Can 
one imagine what Wyoming's problems would be 
today if we had not had the tax in question all these 

Wyoming journalist M/Tce Leon 
Editor, The Spokesman' 

Mineral severance taxes reflect the realization that 
minerals are produced only once. Wyoming's mineral 
resources (principally oil and gas, coal, trona, uranium, 
and bentonite) constitute economic assets which, once 
"severed," are gone forever. Severance taxes provide the 
state with a new asset — money — with which to strengthen 
and diversify its mineral-based economy. As important 
as these are to Wyoming's economy today, it is surpris- 
ing that the severance tax was not instituted in the state 
until the late 1960s. One man who played a leading role 
in the discussion and passage of the tax was Ernest 

The idea of a severance tax appeared in Wyoming 
politics long before Wilkerson. In 1923 the legislature 
passed a constitutional amendment levying "a severance 
tax based on the actual value of the gross product." The 
Wyoming Constitution requires amendments to be rati- 
fied by a majority of those voting at the next general elec- 
tion, so the amendment was presented on the 1924 bal- 
lot. Although 39,109 voted for it, with 27,795 against it, 
the amendment failed because the number of "yes" votes 
did not constitute a majority of the total votes cast in the 
election. As historian T.A. Larson noted in his classic 
work, History of Wyoming: "Though often renewed later, 
the drive for a severance tax would never again come so 
close to victory. "2 

According to Larson, the second significant move 
toward severance tax came more than twenty years later, 
in the 1949 legislative session. The debate was surpris- 
ingly nonpartisan, with both Republicans and Democrats 
for and against. A 2 percent tax on oil passed the House, 
but failed in the Senate.'^ 

1 . 7 /if DcriKx rdlu 
nciiKiiralii dim 


m is llu 




2. I. A. 


•i. Ibid. 

1, arson, 
p. 513 


ory of Wyiniiiiii^ 
4:5:5-4:54 . 


y If), 19H7, vol. II, IK 
loillu- Wvoinint^ l)c 


.1.1; Ui 


The legislative debate carried over into the 1950 
gubernatorial campaign. Democrat John J. Mclntyre, 
formerly a one-term congressman and later a Wyoming 
Supreme Court justice, faced Republican Frank Barrett, 
who had knocked him out of the U.S. House of Represen- 
tatives in 1942 and defeated him again in 1946. Mcln- 
tyre proposed a severance tax only on oil piped outside 
Wyoming for refining. Barrett chose not to debate the 
issue directly, but instead allowed Mclntyre's fellow' 
Democrat, William "Scotty" Jack, to attack him. Jack 
had served as Wyoming auditor and secretary of state in 
the late 1930s and early 1940s, and was considered a strong 
candidate for governor in 1950. Jack passed up the politi- 
cal opportunity, however, and instead took charge of pub- 
lic relations for the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Associ- 
ation (RMOGA). RMOGA was founded principally to 
fight severance tax proposals, and in his new position. Jack 
successfully "made the severance tax and Mclntyre 
equally unpopular." Barrett defeated Mclntyre b)- 12,000 
votes. "^ 

Interest in the severance tax waned in 1954 when Jack 
took on Republican Milwarcl Simpson for the gONcrnor- 
ship, since both opposed the idea. Simpson won the elec- 
tion. Although severance tax bills were introduced in CNery 
legislative session during the remaining years of the 
decade, none were seriously considered; and in 1961 none 
were even introduced. Efforts to enact the tax began again 
in 1963, but did not bear fruit for another six years. ' 

Wyoming's mineral severance taxes now provide par- 
kt'v slate accounts anil pro- 
luiing Mini-ral Trust I'uiid 
(PWMTF); the gciuMal tund, whic h finances most oper- 
ations of slate g()\cnnnent ; watri' dcx clopnu-nt : highw a\s; 
and capital construcilon lor sc hools, ( (HuniunitN c dIIc^cs, 
and uumicipaHlies. Thr pniu ipal olthe I'WM 11 is in\ 10- 

1. II. ui., pp. .'■)14-,51,'). 

5. lijid,, pp. 519, 522, 525, 528, bX\. 

tial OY ctimplete funding U 
grams: the Ferinaiu-nt \\ 



WINTER 1991 

late (except that the legislature may specify conditions for 
loans to political subdivisions of the state). Interest from 
the PWMTF will be the largest source of income to the 
state's general fund by the early 1990s.'' 

Although severance tax revenues now comprise an 
essential part of state government funding, the rate of tax- 
ation and the allocation of revenues continues to be con- 
troversial. Numerous bills raising or lowering the rates 
for various minerals and changing the distribution of 
revenues have enlivened every legislative session since the 
severance tax was first passed, and most proposals have 
sparked controversy among industry, conservation groups, 
municipalities, and other interests concerned with Wyo- 
ming's economic health. Because the legislature is free 
to change rates and allocations as it sees fit (except for 
one and a half percent on oil, gas, and coal earmarked 
to the PWMTF by a constitutional amendment ratified 
by the voters in 1974), these issues will doubtless continue 
to be debated. 

How did the severance tax come to be an integral part 
of Wyoming state government funding? As the first 
Wyoming politician in recent years to advocate vigorously 
severance taxes, the late Ernest Wilkerson played a major 
role. His unsuccessful 1966 gubernatorial campaign car- 
ried the slogan, "Wyoming's Wealth for Wyoming's Peo- 
ple," and his severance tax proposals spurred considera- 
ble debate during the campaign and the years immediately 
following. This article examines the political origins of cur- 
rent severance tax policy by providing a brief overview 
of Wilkerson's campaign and the subsequent enactment 
of Wyoming's first severance tax by the legislature in 1969. 

"Aristocrat," "patrician," "commanding," "bril- 
liant," "didn't suffer fools gladly," these are the words 
and phrases most commonly offered by his contemporaries 
in describing Wilkerson. His physical presence — "he 
looked like a governor" — and superior intellect clearly set 
Wilkerson apart all during his life in Wyoming. 

Wilkerson was born in Lusk in 1920, the son of W.F. 
and Lula May Wilkerson. W.F. Wilkerson founded 
Wyoming Automotive Company, a highly successful auto 
parts business which eventually included stores in towns 
all around the state. The family later moved to Casper, 
where Ernest distinguished himself as a debater at Natrona 
County High School. '' 

Attending the University of Wyoming, Wilkerson 
made his first foray into politics when he served in the 
student senate and was subsequently elected president of 
the student body. Plans for law school were laid aside, 
however, with the onset of World War II. A thin young 
man, Wilkerson had to gain weight to enlist in the Marines 
after his graduation from UW in 1941. He served with 
distinction in the South Pacific and was discharged after 
four years with the rank of captain.^ 

Wilkerson married Margaret Sullivan, a member of 
a prominent Casper family. Her father. Republican E.J. 
Sullivan, ran unsuccessfully for governor against 
Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross in the 1924 election. The 
Wilkersons had two sons, Ernest and Mark, and one 
daughter, Laura. ^ 

Graduating from Yale Law School in 1948, Wilker- 
son returned to Casper to practice law. Although he had 
a highly successful practice in Casper, specializing as a 
plaintiff's lawyer in personal injury cases, former Wyo- 
ming Supreme Court Justice John Rooney described 
Wilkerson as "more a student of law than a practi- 
tioner" — an inclination which fit Wilkerson superbly for 
his later work in legal education.'" 

Upon his father's death in 1950, Wilkerson inherited 
Wyoming Automotive. He continued running the busi- 
ness as well as his law practice for fifteen years, where- 
upon he sold the stores — by then part of the largest domes- 
tically owned company in Wyoming — to their local 
managers. He chose to do so despite offers from several 
out- of-state corporations to buy Wyoming Automotive, 
preferring to give the Wyoming managers the opportu- 
nity to make a go of it. He even financed the sales if neces- 
sary. Some of the local managers succeeded and some did 
not, with Wilkerson incurring the losses; but he appar- 
ently had no regrets, feeling he had been true to his own, 
and his father's, business philosophy. '' 

Wilkerson's overall interest in business and economic 
matters drew him to the Casper Chamber of Commerce, 
where he was an active member for many years and served 
a term as president. He also provided financial backing 

6. "Wyoming Revenue Forecast," Consensus Re 
Group, October 1989. 

7. Caspn Slar-Trilmne, Frl^ruary 6, 19H7, p. 1. 

8. Casper Star-Tribune, February 6, 1987, p. 1; Persona! interview 
with Justice Robert Rose, September 3, 1987. All interviews are 
in author's collection. 

9. Persona! interview with Justice Rcjbert, Septeml^er 3, 1987; 
personal interview with Franic Bowron, July 15, 1987. 

10. Personal interview with Justice John Rooney, September 3, 1987. 

1 1 . Personal interview with Justice Robert Rose, September 3, 1987. 



for the short-lived Casper Morning Star, beheving that the 
city needed another voice besides the RepubHcan Tribune- 

For many individuals now in high public office, being 
elected president of their class was the first rung on the 
political ladder. But this was not the case with Ernest 
Wilkerson. Although his close friend and colleague, former 
Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Robert Rose, believes 
that Wilkerson was "never happier" as when he was stu- 
dent body president, he was only mildly interested in 
politics during the 1950s. ''^ 

"There was no question in anyone's mind, when 
Ernie was in his younger years, that Ernie Wilkerson 
would be a United States Senator . . . his whole back- 
ground was groomed toward that direction," adds Casper 
attorney Jim Fagan. "But he went along and he went 
along and he went along, and the only elective office Ernie 
Wilkerson ever held was on the City Council of Casper, 
Wyoming. This amazed us because we knew he should 
be headed in that direction but he simply never made the 
steps during his career . . . ."'■* 

Wilkerson did provide steady financial aid to the 
Democratic party during the 1950s, and, as Fagan men- 
tioned, ran successfully for the Casper City Council in 
the early 1960s. Another friend and colleague, former 
Wyoming Congressman Teno Roncalio, thinks his 
involvement with campaigns, particularly John F. 
Kennedy's 1960 presidential race, finally captured Wilker- 
son's interest.'^ 

Apparently Roncalio' s successful race for Congress 
in 1964 focused Wilkerson 's thoughts on running for office 
himself, an observation corroborated by Casper attorney, 
and unsuccessful candidate for Wyoming secretary of state 
in 1962, Frank Bowron, who pointed out: "The 1964 elec- 
tion was one in which the Democratic Party swept the 
State of Wyoming, and I think it encouraged many peo- 
ple to look to 1966 as a possible year in which the 
Democrats could elect state officers .... I think that 
factor was one that helped Ernest decide to run for 
governor — there was a chance at being elected.""' 

Nineteen sixty-four was a banner year for Wyoming 
Democrats, the best they had had in thirty years. 
Presidential candidate Lyndon Johnson carried the state 

by more than eighteen thousand votes. Democrats won 
control of the state House of Representatives, thirty-four 
to twenty-seven, and barely missed a majority in the state 
Senate, where the Republicans clung to a thirteen to 
twelve lead.''' 

And so Wilkerson began to "take the steps." He 
volunteered to chair the finance committee of the state 
Democratic Party in 1964, and traveled to every county 
in the state, teaming up with local Democrats to visit 
potential contributors and get pledges. In 1966, when he 
resigned as finance committee chairman to run for gover- 
nor, he still implored his fellow Democrats to support the 
pledge system year-round. This was not simply a self- 
serving move. Wilkerson funneled all his donations 
through the state Democratic party, and some of the 
money was used to assist other candidates.'^ 

In addition to the prospect of Democratic good for- 
tune lingering from 1964, the state's economy in 1966 
provided a good launching pad for an issue- and business- 
oriented individual like Wilkerson.'^ Then, as now, the 
economy had a "colonial" aspect, with its heavy depen- 
dence on extractive industries whose operational decisions 
were made elsewhere. The politically prescient could see 
that the 1967 legislature would face revenue problems; 
where could the state get more money? Wilkerson had 
some ideas.'" 

Wilkerson found himself in a five-way primary with 
Howard Burke, a former legislator; former governor Jack 
Gage; Cheyenne Mayor Bill Nation; and Ray Whitaker, 
a fellow Casper attorney. Wilkerson was a prolific writer 
and published several newsletters diu-ing the primary cam- 
paign. These contained a mixture of campaign anecdotes, 
presentations of his positions, and general observations 
of Wyoming's political scene. For instance, in his Mav. 
1966, newsletter, he discussed his i:)roposal for in\esting 
state permanent funds for economic development. Ceil- 
ing the example of the Star Valley Swiss Cheese plant <u 
Thayne, which processed locally produced milk into a \ ar- 
iety of products sold mostly out-of-state, Wilkerson wrine; 

12. Personal ink-rvicw witli M\kv Iauii, Juiu- !(., VMM. 

13. Personal interview with Jus(i(c RolxTt Rose, Septeniher i, I')!!?. 

14. Personal interview with Jim I'a^an. March 25, !<)«». 

15. Personal inicrvi.w wiih leu,. Run. aho, |unc 24, l')H7. 

16. Personal interview with liowroii, )ulv If), 19H7. 

17. Larson, ///s/ory oj Wyoniim;. p. 541. 

It!. "iMiianceC.nuniltee Report," in- I'.rnesi Wilkersoi 

iNiiii. I'l 1)1 11.11 \ i'i(,(,, \,,i. :;, 111). 2, p. ;i; peisDiuii 

I'l. I' iiil,-i\ieu vMlh I' Hovmoii, |ii1n 1.5, 
21). toi SI. Ill, -IS. iiuesim- si.u,- pr,iii,,,u-nl luiuls 

,l,Nrlnpiiiriil .iiul iiiMilulin- ,i sc-xrr.uue 

111 more del, ill lu-Jow. 




WINTER 1991 

Everyone would benefit from the creation of wool 
processing, canneries, tanneries, feed marketing and slaugh- 
ter houses, wood processing mills, and on down through the 
list. The farmer, the rancher, the timberman would make 
more money because he would sell locally. Payrolls would 
be created; new customers would appear for the merchants 
and professional men; and, as our products are put into mar- 
ketable form here in Wyoming and shipped out of the State, 
money from outside pours into Wyoming (and remember 
it is only bringing money from the outside into the State that 
we create wealth). 

We can, with common sense, determination, and imagi- 
nation begin the employment of our State's Permanent Funds 
to generate these markets; these payrolls; this wealth.^' 

Wilkerson also told a tale on himself, a tale that reflects 
the physically and emotionally exhausting nature of cam- 

Surely one of the most delightful moments of the campaign 
the other day in Gillette. I, going from Democrat to 
Democrat in their homes (as I have done during the last 

weeks of the campaign), up one walk steps to the 

porch . . . the doorbell ... I said, Mrs. , 

I'm Ernest Wilkerson, Democratic candidate for Governor, 
and I'm here to ask for your vote. She rejoined, bless her: 

Don't bother — I voted for you yesterday. Took me a moment 
to realize she meant absentee — my gratitude was cut short 
when she asked me to stop licking her hand . . . .^^ 

Wilkerson looked forward to the August primary with 
the feeling that he had "tried to conduct a clean, intelli- 
gent, persuasive, and significant campaign." He stated 
serenely: "There is nothing that I have done that I would 
do differently — and there is nothing I have left undone 
that I would wish I had done." Wilkerson need not have 
braced himself; he scored a solid win in the primary elec- 
tion with 13,145 votes, compared to 9,834 for Nation's 
second-place showing. ^^ 

In 1966 the Democratic party attempted to run a uni- 
fied campaign with its five candidates for statewide office 
and its congressional candidates. The seven hopefuls, 
Teno Roncalio for U.S. Senate, Al Christian for U.S. 
House, Wilkerson for governor. Jack Jones for secretary 
of state. Bob Bentley for auditor, Bob Adams for treas- 
urer, and Kathcrine Vehar for superintendent of public 
instruction, frequently traveled around Wyoming together 

on a chartered bus. Local supporters would meet the bus 
several miles outside of town, and the busload would roll 
into the community. '■^'^ 

No one seems to have fond memories of traveling on 
the bus, not to mention those awful times in every cam- 
paign when there are more candidates who speak than 
there are people who listen. Wilkerson's personality was 
especially unsuited to such occasions. "He wasn't a 
mixer," recalls Ceil Roncalio, Teno's wife. "He had no 
knack for the common people; he would stand in one 
corner, and Bob Bentley would stand in another." 
Although Wilkerson inspired awe and devotion, Mrs. 
Roncalio added, his wealth "stood him off" from peo- 
ple. Her description is echoed by Bowron, who said sim- 
ply, "Ernest Wilkerson was not built to be the glad- 
handing politician. "2^ 

Despite his awkwardness with campaign crowds, 
Wilkerson found an audience for his wide-ranging and 
innovative proposals. Bowron notes that Wilkerson "had 
spent a lifetime of studying the problems of the state, 
studying possible solutions, and he put forth a program 
that offered possible solutions. It's really amazing how 
many of these programs have become part of our state 
statutes . . . the fabric of our life has been affected. "^^ 

One result of this unusual hobby was Wilkerson's 
famous, or perhaps more accurately, infamous, campaign 
pamphlets. These were described by another of Wilker- 
son's friends, retired Northwest College political science 
professor John Hinckley, as "brilliant small essays on pub- 
lic policy." Journalist Mike Leon, editor of the 
Democratic party's newspaper. The Spokesman, expressed 
a widely-shared opinion when he called the legal-size sheets 
covered on both sides with tiny print "incomprehensible 
— a lawyer's production. "^^ 

Brilliant or incomprehensible, the Wilkerson pamph- 
lets were definitely not standard campaign fare. He laid 
out detailed plans for equalization of school funding, 
investment of the state's permarient funds to promote eco- 
nomic development, and, of course, imposition and use 
of a mineral severance tax. The pamphlets were indeed 
"essays on public policy," the like of which has not been 
seen in Wyoming campaigns since. ^^ 

21. Ernest Wilkerson, May 1966, primary campaign newsletter, in 
collection of Laura (Wilkerson) Perry; copy in author's collection. 

22. Ernest Wilkerson, May 1966, primary campaign newsletter. 

23. 1967 Wyoming Official Directory, Sunmiary, Official Vote, Primary 
Election, August 16, 1966, p. 72. 

24. Personal interview with Teno and Ceil Roncalio, June 24, 1987. 

25. Personal interview with Teno and Ceil Roncalio, June 24, 1987; 
personal interview with Frank Bowron, July 15, 1987. 

26. Personal interview with Frank Bowron, July 15, 1987. 

27. Personal interview with John Hinckley, July 27, 1987; personal 
interview with Mike Leon, June 16, 1987. 

28. Personal interview with John Hinckley, July 27, 1987. 





BOX 635 

The Not Very Merry Month of May 
In The Election Year 1966 



this sentimental 

recollection of, and 

tribute to 


Murphy, a i 

riend for many 


. Bob, 


aspired to be a 


for Gove 

-nor of our 

State one day. 

He was very 


to me. 


counsel and his 

help were 


from January 

rfirough May 

1 4th, when 

he died in Lander 

. He was unique and irrep 


Our Party 


our State are much the 


r for having 

lost him . 




Copy of /I pai^r lakrn jrow II 

.1/^;)' 1'>I)() tw/i/iii/ori ncKwIiitr 



WINTER 1991 

Wilkerson's advertisements were similarly unconven- 
tional. He took out several full-page advertisements in the 
Casper Star-Tribune — masses of solid text punctuated occa- 
sionally with small graphs or drawings. Lois Shickich 
recalls, "No one — not even the faithful — read those ads." 
Political television commercials were just coming into 
vogue then as well. Unsurprisingly, a candidate as issue- 
oriented as Wilkerson spurned the notion of making thirty 
second spots; instead, he bought three half hour programs, 
termed "monumental presentations" by Jim Fagan.^^ 

Wilkerson was advised time and again that his wordy 
pieces exceeded the attention span of most voters, but he 
refused to compromise what he considered a necessary 
explanation of his proposals. And even if no one read his 
pamphlets or advertisements in their entirety, Wilkerson's 
support showed that he succeeded in getting something 
across to the electorate — even if it was just the vague 
notion that he was a man with ideas. ^° 

Wilkerson's general election opponent was Stanley K. 
Hathaway of Torrington. Hathaway entered politics in 
1954 with a successful race for county attorney in Goshen 
County. He was reelected in 1958. He then served as state 
chairman of the Republican party from 1964-1966. 
Although his state chairmanship was a perfect springboard 
for statewide candidacy, Hathaway was planning to run 
for the Wyoming Senate until friends and party officials 
persuaded him to run for governor. He handily defeated 
Joseph Burke and Arthur Linde in the primary contest, 
despite Burke's support from what Hathaway calls the 
"third house" — special interests, especially the mineral 
and agricultural industries.^' 

"I brag to my colleagues — you didn't have to run 
against Ernest Wilkerson," said Hathaway in an inter- 
view. "He challenged you mentally all the time." Cer- 
tainly Wilkerson's approach to politics provided the cam- 
paign with plenty of issue fodder. He and Hathaway 
sparred on a number of issues, including legislative 
subdistricting — with Wilkerson against and Hathaway for; 
equalization of school finance — Wilkerson proposed 
financing education with a state collected tax redistributed 
on a per pupil basis, while Hathaway favored changes in 
the mill levy; and, of course, the severance tax.^^ 

29. Personal interview with Joe and Lois Shiclcich, March 24, 1988; 
personal interview with Jim Fagan, March 25, 1988. 

:'){). Personal interview with John Hinckley, July 27, 1987; personal 
interview with Justice John Rooney, September 3, 1987. 

?)\ . Personal interview with Stanley K. Hathaway, August 3, 1988. 

!32. Casper Slar-Tribune, October-November 1966. 

?)'.'). "Let's Make Wyoming Minerals Make Wyoming Payrolls . . . 
Some Ideas," campaign ijiix hure, in <:olle( lion of Laura (Wilker- 
son) Perry; copy in author's collec lion. 

The two candidates maintained a running debate in 
the press on this controversial subject. Wilkerson and the 
other four Democrats running for statewide office pub- 
lished a brochure titled, "Let's Make Wyoming Minerals 
Make Wyoming Payrolls . . . Some Ideas." There were 
several: a tax on crude oil exported from Wyoming, but 
forgiven on oil refined in Wyoming; preferential assign- 
ment of state mineral leases to companies processing their 
product in Wyoming; and a straightforward severance tax, 
with the revenue earmarked to the permanent funds and 
invested for education and other functions of state and 
local government. The Democrats also proposed a study 
of taxing minerals-in-place as a means of stimulating 
production. ^^ 

Mr. Wilkerson: 
Don't play politics with our jobs 

Wilkerson Mineral Tax Plan 

would cut jobs and 

industry in Wyoming! 

This could cost our |obs 
and moybo yours 

•» <i ri Ml f 

could happen here ii«i i ukr • rhanir m h •■>mii<( • 




llic Comrnilkr to Save Jobs in Wyoming ran this campaign advertisement oppos- 
ing Wilkerson 's proposal of a severance tax on Wyoming's minerals in the Casper 
Star-Tribune, (htohrr 27, 1966. 



Hathaway focused on the proposed study, arguing that 
taxing minerals in place was unconstitutional, and ignored 
the rest of the ideas. By mid-October, this strategy earned 
him a chiding editorial in the Casper Star-Tribune, which 
backed Wilkerson's allegation that Hathaway was mis- 
representing this position; but Hathaway continued 
undeterred for the remainder of the campaign. Besides 
their newspaper battles, the two candidates had, at Wilker- 
son's suggestion, two face-to-face televised debates; Hatha- 
way thinks they were the first Wyoming gubernatorial can- 
didates to do so. He also recalls that his advisers were dead 
set against his participation in a TV debate, fearing he 
would be "cut to ribbons" by the articulate Wilkerson. 
"But my wife and I decided I had to debate — I felt like 
I was running from him," said Hathaway. So he marched 
up to Wilkerson's law office in Casper, accepted the 
challenge, and in turn got Wilkerson to accept his rule: 
that their answers would be limited to three minutes. This 
was a clever move on Hathaway's part, for he realized 
it would be difficult for Wilkerson to get to the point in 
a three-minute response. Hathaway concedes that Wilker- 
son still "won" the debates, but says, "I think my sup- 
porters were pleased that I didn't lose them badly. "'^^ 

Hugh Duncan, Hathaway's campaign manager and 
now a Casper attorney, characterized the 1966 race as a 
"lunch-bucket campaign" focused on the question, "Who 
would develop the economy?" Duncan feels there was 
"latent resentment of big companies who came and 
exploited resources," an impression that probably began 
with the Salt Creek oil field. When people thought about 
it, however, they figured that "promising an industry 
more taxes was not the way to go."^^ 

The campaign event of that fall was unquestionably 
U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy's visit to Casper on 
October 25. He came primarily to support Roncalio's bid 
for U.S. Senate, but spoke for the entire Democratic slate. 
A crowd of five thousand filled the Industrial Building 
to see and hear this national figure. Unfortunately for 
Wyoming Democrats, Kennedy's appearance was not 
enough to influence significantly the state's Repul^lican 
majority. The following day, KTWO issued poll results 
showing outgoing governor Cliff Hansen over Roncalio, 
52.9 percent to 47.1 percent, and Hathaway over Wilker- 
son, 57 percent to 43 percent."' 

Undaunted, Wilkerson kept hammering his theme 
home. The Casper Star-Tribune reported the following 
remarks on October 31, dateline Cheyenne: 

"... the state of Wyoming was the only state in the nation 
where the true governor was not chosen by the people." 

"Certainly four years ago we had an election in which 
the Republican candidate won and bears the title of gover- 
nor," he said. "To our hardship, however, and to our 
shame, the people who have really governed Wyoming for 
the last four years live in Omaha in a railroad office build- 
ing, in Denver on 17th street, in Dallas, in Tulsa, in Los 
Angeles, and other far away places," he said. 

Wilkerson said the monuments left by these people are empty 
stores, empty houses, "the mortgage foreclosures, the closed 
refineries, the vanished roundhouses, and the thousands of 
other daily reminders to their absenteed abuses of our 
state. "^' 

Small wonder that the Union Pacific, the oil industry, and 
the other targets of his speeches may have wanted to see 
Wilkerson defeated. ^^ 

The Casper Star-Tribune announced its endorsement of 
Hathaway on November 1. "Our preference for Repub- 
lican Stan Hathaway over Democrat Ernest Wilkerson 
for Governor has been pretty clearly indicated," the 
editorial read. "We question Mr. Wilkerson's approach 
to the basic problems of Wyoming. As much as we would 
like to have a Casper man as chief executive of the state, 
we can only feel that he has shown a certain extremism 
in his campaign which we are unable to endorse."'-' 

Toward the end of October, display advertisements 
from the "Committee to Save Jobs in Wyoming" began 
appearing in newspapers around the state, accompanied 
by radio and television spots. A typical advertisement 
characterized a severance tax as "dangerous for YOUR 

;54. Personal interview with Stanky K. I l.ilh.iwav, August ii, 1!)»8. 

35. Personal interview with Hugh, July 1.''), n)»7. 

36. Casper Star-Tribune, October 2(), !'.)()(), |). 3. 

37. Casper Star-Tribune, Oitdber:;!, 19b(i, \). 13. 

38. According to Ernest Wilkerson: "Moiu-x- from those companies- 
oil, railroad and others — whom 1 lia\ e proposetl lo lax lairU and 
make r( sp,.iisii)le lo the stale and its people is i)eim; lax ishlv ilis- 
Uibuled amniin ihe nu'dia, . . ." "F.nusi \Vilk< ison Relurns lo 
\V\(iming," Caster Shn-'I'nhini,. Sepu-mb^-r 17, 1'17't, p. 7. In a 
lelUT lo Bowron. Wilkerson wrole: ■■()ne llwr iluil came 
oul durni.^ Ihe lasl we.'k ol llie c amp.u-n 1 VMsh 1 h.ul kepi — ihis 
p.irliav.-d me as a spulei. as I le, all, spmnm^ c oinvebs over ihe 
indusiiies ,,r\\\,unm- and in.ikin- ii al.uiuLuiii\ lii.ii il 1 
u.-ic el.-, led Ihe II'. (ilu- souue ol llie .an.u.h .nul .ill .>t ihe 
ollu 1 (i,Hl-le,iiui- pred.ilois ol ihe slale xv.uiKI close llie nulls, vluil 
Ihe mines, ,il..iiu|,,n llie shops .uul geiier.ilU le.n e ev erx IhhK oul 
of ,1 job." 1.<-Iler daled Nowiiiber J.,', \'K\^ . m I bowron 
collection; eoi)v in anlhoi's (olledmii. 

39. Casper Slar-'l'nbutie, Nmember 1, I'Kih, p. \. 



WINTER 1991 

JOB AND OURS." The advertisements wound up with 
a plug for the election of Stan Hathaway. *° 

Wilkerson took up the gauntlet with vigor, challeng- 
ing the "Make Believe Committee" to identify itself. 
"Let's have the names, gentlemen," Wilkerson asked the 
Republican Party in a press release November 1. "I want 
to know who sponsors these advertisements that they are 
afraid to sign. ' ' In a November 4 advertisement over the 
name of the Wyoming Democratic State Central Com- 
mittee, Wilkerson revealed his own suspicions: 

Do you want to know who is on the Committee? The 
advertising agency handhng the campaign of Mr. Stanley 
K. Hathaway (whose campaign is being paid for in whole 
or in part by the railroads, the oil companies and the other 
predators who, for the first time in Wyoming's history, have 
been asked - by me - to give a little something back to our 

How funny . . . how sad . . . how ironical this make 
believe 'committee'. What splendid committee members - 
the railroads who have eliminated thousands of Wyoming 
jobs in the past few years . . . the oil companies who can 
hardly wait until after the election to announce more refiner- 
ies closed, more offices moved to Denver - and the Republi- 
cans (who, with their precious Right to Work law, have 
forced thousands of our people out of Wyoming.)*' 

Who, indeed, comprised the "Committee to Save Jobs 
in Wyoming?" If any of the individuals interviewed for 
this study know, they are not telling. Possibilities offered 
by interviewees included the National Right to Work 
Committee, the Union Pacific Railroad, the Brotherhood 
of Railroad Engineers, and the oil industry - a disparate 
lot. Any of these entities had a tremendous stake in mak- 
ing sure not so much that Hathaway won, but that Wilker- 
son lost; and perhaps there were others. 

The attacks on Wilkerson were not limited to the 
threat of job losses. A vicious personal smear campaign 
which had been quietly dogging Wilkerson all along sud- 
denly was quiet no longer. "He wasn't attack-able intellec- 
tually," said John Hinckley; so, "Every political gimmick 
you can think of was used in that campaign, from the 
smear to the rumor to the flashy threatening type of mis- 
representation of Ernie's campaign. "*2 

The mudslinging reached such proportions by the end 
of October that Democratic U.S. Senator Gale McGee 
delayed a return trip to Washington to hold a press con- 
ference in Cheyenne to defend Wilkerson: 

"This smear started in our own Democratic primary and 
is now being perpetuated by members in both parties as well 
as certain individuals of some vested interest groups," 
McGee said. 

"Today we learn of an imported 'goon' squad criss- 
crossing southern Wyoming, peddling stories about Ernest 
Wilkerson that are so incredible they tax your comprehen- 
sion - stories that reek of moral accusations so gross as to 
be nauseous," McGee continued. 

"The tragedy is not that it may defeat one man and 
elect another, rather that it destroys the dignity of responsi- 
ble self government," McGee added .... 

McGee called for Democrats and Republicans alike to 
denounce "the smear peddlers." 

"Ernie has set the issues - let him be judged on that 
basis, not on innuendoes and slurs," McGee said.*^ 


40. For example see Casper Slar-Trihune, October 27, 1966, 

41. Casper Slar-Tribune, November 4, 1!)66, p. .'). 

42. Personal interview with John I line kley, July 27, 1987, 


Wilkerson 's response lo the advertisements placed by the ' 'Committee to Save 
Jobs in Wyomini^, " appeared in the Casper Siar-Tnhune, November 4, J 966. 



Hugh Duncan recalls that he offered to set up a joint 
press conference and television appearance for Hathaway 
and Wilkerson to denounce the rumors. The idea was 
scrapped because they could not figure out how to 
denounce something without giving it more publicity. 
Duncan also thinks Wilkerson may have believed Dun- 
can was trying to "sandbag" him.** While the smear cam- 
paign did not destroy Wilkerson's candidacy, the combi- 

Now it's up to YOU ... the voters! 

Th.. riifht 
hard f^ifnntf pu 

A stepped up pnifc 

I of a frw and demticratic f-ounlo' 

Kor wwks 
working in Wyo 
ihe people will bi 

' for r 

A strong v<fic<' fur labr.>r i 
irn:r*«i«l pr';moti<in ■ 

tnu •uldoor i»ii*ni 

it* wnur re- 

for indunrial 

An oducatiimaJ «>-««n worthy of me 

youth of Wyonung 

A lUU adminictntion de<licat«l to 

building for a aound. aolid future 

THA.N'K.-f f'lr the fnendjy welcome •■vtr: 

rhere and for the enthuaiaftic aupport and 

our» of Mrrwn voluntarily given in 'hu 

im whatever your convirtiona. 

Vote for STAN HATHAWAY k. Governor 


One of Hathaway 's campaign adverlisements for his successful quest for gover- 
nor in 1966. It appeared in the Casper Star-Tribune, November 7, 1966. 

nation of personal attacks and the determined opposition 
of certain groups was a major factor in his defeat, accord- 
ing to close friend and then Natrona County Democratic 
party chairman Joe Shickich.*^ 

A typical Wyoming event occurred on Election Day 
- a snowstorm. But interest in local races (because of reap- 
portionment in 1965, all the legislative seats were up for 
election), as well as the statewide contests, still drew voters 
to the polls. At that time the Casper Star-Tribune carried 
front-page advertisements, a practice unheard of in recent 
years; Hathaway obtained that critical space on election 
day, while Wilkerson did not take out any advertisements 
in the entire issue.*'' 

The 1966 election brought a stinging backlash from 
the Democratic victories of 1964. The entire Democratic 
statewide slate, starting with Teno Roncalio for U.S. 
Senate, went down to defeat. The legislative gains enjoyed 
only two years earlier were substantially reversed, with 
the Republicans capturing majorities of thirty-four to 
twenty-seven in the House and eighteen to twelve in the 
Senate. Wilkerson could take small comfort in the fact 
that with his 55,249 votes (to Hathaway's 65,624), he had 
received more votes for governor than any previous 
Democratic candidate, win or lose.*^ 

Hathaway's victory brought him the dual distinc- 
tions of being the first man from Goshen County to be 
elected to any one of the five statewide offices. He also 
was the first state Republican chairman to be elected 

Wilkerson sent his congratulations to Hathaway the 
day following the election. According to the November 
9, 1966, Casper Star-Tribunc: 

Ernest Wilkerson, unsuccessful Democratic candidate 
for governor, wired his congratulations to Go\-.-Elect Stan- 
ley K. Hathaway Wednesday. 

"Congratulations. You have my l)est wishes for a suc- 
cessful and productive administration," was the text of 
Wilkerson's telegram to Hathawav.^" 

4;5. Casfrr Stnr-Trihunr. October 27, I9(i(i, p. 1, 'i'he newspapers did 
not reporl the specific allegalions ,iiul those inter\ icwcti decliiuxl 
to .omniciit on the t h.ii-es ni.iv li.ixf Ucen. 

44. Personal interview with Hugh, |ulv 13, l')H7. 

43. Person. il inteiA tew with loc.iiul I .ois ,Shu ku li , March '24, 1988. 

4(1. Casf)er .Slui- Inluuir. Nowiuhei 8, I', p. 1, 

47. 4'. A. Earson, Unloiy oj Wyinniuo, 211,1 cd., rc\ . (Pimoln: I'nixer- 
sity of Nebraska Press, 1978), p. 3t.(); \ ngmi.i Cole li-cnli,.liii, 
ed., Wyoming Blue Ihok. \a\. Ill (( :he\ eiine: Wyonung St. lie 
.\r.hives ,iiul 1 )ep.ii t inent , 1974) p. K). 

48, Casfn-r Star 'Irihune. Noxeniber 9, 19()(), p. 12. 



WINTER 1991 

Wilkerson did not allow his defeat in the governor's 
race to end his quest to "use this [mineral] wealth to 
benefit our people and to stop its use exclusively to benefit 
the entrenched power structure of Wyoming and the 'Big 
Operators' of other cities and other states." On January 
3, 1967, less than two months after the election, Wilker- 
son sent a letter and three legislative proposals (already 
drafted in bill form) to all members of the Democratic State 
Central Committee and all the Democratic legislators. The 
proposals included: (1) a 4 percent crude oil export tax, 
with all revenues earmarked to the permanent funds except 
for the first ten years; (2) a minimum annual rental per 
acre of state-owned lands, requiring appraisal and clas- 
sification of state lands for the purpose of establishing ren- 
tals; and (3) allowing the permanent funds of the state 
to be deposited with Wyoming banks and building and 
loan associations.*^ 

In his cover letter, Wilkerson exhorted his fellow 

During the just concluded campaign and during all of the 
primary campaign of mine, repeated Democratic emphasis 
was placed on the concept of "Wyoming's Wealth for Wyom- 
ing People." Though we were defeated, I think we should 
continue in fairness to our people and in fairness to our party 
to spell out proposals which will, in our view, be beneficial 
to this state. 

Our Democratic party platform, adopted in Sheridan last 
May, endorsed in principal two concepts originally proposed 
by me, these being: 

First: The encouragement of the retention here in Wyoming 
of payrolls resulting from the processing of minerals taken 
out of our soil. 

Second: The imaginative and productive investment of our 
permanent funds to produce more revenue for Wyoming and 
to provide a measure of credit expansion by such use of the 
funds . . . 

Finally, a personal footnote: As I have told you before, I 
hope you will not misunderstand my own motives in this 
post-election activity. I am doing this simply because I 
worked too hard for these ideas which appear to be so desper- 
ately needed in our state to let them simply slip away through 
inaction or indifference, h may be that the Democratic party 
does not concur with me on this. If this is true, of course, 
that will pretty much terminate the matter. If the party does, 
however, then let us have the wisdom and the tenacity to 
fight for what we believe in 1967 and in coming years. We 
were right in our campaigning. We will be proved right in 
the months and years ahead if we continue the battle to make 
this state work for the benefit of I he pro/i/f who live hcrcy 

Needless to say, these proposals went nowhere in the 
legislature that year, but Wyoming Democrats felt Wilker- 
son had carried the party's banner high, and they looked 
for opportunities to venerate their champion. They got 
one after they saw the results of the 1967 legislative ses- 
sion, when lawmakers hiked sin taxes and made the sales 
tax applicable to sales of services - but refused to enact 
a severance tax - in order to meet state government 

The March, 1967, edition of The Spokesman, the 
Democratic party newspaper, carried this paean to Wilker- 

Fie pointed the way. He had the courage to raise the issues 
that counted even though, as he must have known, to do 
so was to invite down upon himself all the wrath, slander, 
irrelevancies and misrepresentations a desperate opposition 
could devise. 

Today he stands vindicated. Painful as his defeat was 
for himself and the rest of us, we join with him today in the 
proud knowledge that his influence upon Wyoming will, over 
the long run, be far more substantial than that of the man 
who defeated him. 

To be courageous without being knowledgeable is folly. 
To be knowledgeable without being courageous is futile. To 
be both knowledgeable and courageous is to live and serve 
in the highest sense. To such a person defeat never happens. ^^ 

But Wilkerson was far from done with the severance tax. 
In May he sent a tart letter to the editor on the subject, 
and by the beginning of 1969, he was ready to fight again. ^^ 
The late 1960s found the state of Wyoming short of 
revenue. Because the state constitution requires a balanced 
budget, legislators had two choices: cut programs or raise 
taxes. As noted earlier, in 1967, they raised "sin taxes" 
- taxes on cigarettes and alcohol - and imposed a sales 
tax on services.''* Two years later, the Fortieth Legisla- 
ture faced an eight million dollar shortfall between 
projected revenues and Hathaway 's budget for the 1969-71 


Copies of lelK 
(Wilkerson) P 

50. Copies of letter in author's collection and in collection of Laura 
(Wilkerson) Perry. 

51. Larson, History of Wyoming, 2nd ed., p. 562; personal interview 
with Stanley K. Hathaway, August 3, 1988. 

52. The Spokesman, March 1967. 

5.3. See "An Open Letter to the Members of the Fortieth Wyoming 
Legislature," from Ernest Wilkerson, January 21, 19()9, in the 
collection of Laura (Wilkerson) Perry; copy in author's collection. 

54. Larson, History of Wyoming, 2nd ed., p. 562; personal interview 
with Stanley K. Hathaway, August 3, 1988. 

55. Casper Stnr-Tribmir, ]:xm\n'cy 17, 1969, p. 1. 



Hathaway followed through on "warnings" he had 
given to the mineral industries on grassroots tours of the 
state in the fall of 1968. In his 1969 budget message to 
the legislature, Hathaway proposed a 1 percent severance 
tax on all extractive minerals. Why a severance tax, rather 
than, say, an increase in the sales tax? "I think the sales 
tax is somewhat regressive, and it was already three per- 
cent," explained Hathaway. An income tax is, of course, 
out of the question in Wyoming, so that left only a sever- 
ance tax.^*^ 

The governor was not overrun by enthusiastic spon- 
sors for his proposal. According to Hathaway, on the last 
day for bills to be introduced. House Revenue Commit- 
tee Chairman Cliff Davis (R-Campbell) called him up and 
said, "I'm going to introduce your bill for you. Gover- 
nor, because I feel sorry for you." Davis lined up co- 
sponsors representatives Harold Hellbaum (R-Platte) and 
Leon Keith (R-Johnson).^^ 

The severance tax bill (House Bill 229) was assigned 
to Davis' Revenue Committee, which held a hearing on 
the measure on February 7, 1969. Five representatives 
of the mineral industry testified against the proposal; prob- 
ably the most extreme was S. M. Cimino, speaking for 
trona mining companies, who stated: "Every penny of 
cost reduces our potential market. We located here because 
of the favorable industrial market. "^^ (Wyoming is the 
only state in the nation with mineable trona deposits.) 

Only Ernest Wilkerson testified on behalf of the legis- 
lation (actually advocating a 3 percent tax). He posed two 
questions: (1) Do minerals contribute as much tax revenue 
to Wyoming as they do to other states?; and (2) Do 
minerals produce tax revenue to the same degree as other 
types of Wyoming property subject to the same ad valorem 
taxes? According to Wilkerson's statistics, the answer to 
both questions was no. For example, the value of severed 
minerals in Wyoming in 1967 was about $600,000, with 
the state's total valuation (including minerals) at $1.18 
million. The value of minerals was thus approximately 
half of the total valuation - but property taxes paid on 
minerals constituted only 28.8 percent of total property 
tax revenues.'''' 

The recalcitrance of the spokesmen for the mineral 
industry was scored in a February 9, 1969, front-page 
editorial in the Casper Star-Tribune titled, "The Disgrace 
of It." Although the paper had not backed Wilkerson's 
candidacy, and in fact had criticized his advocacy of the 
severance tax only two years earlier, the editors seethed 
with indignation that "not one company said they could 
live with one percent." They pointed to the obvious: that 
mineral companies came to the state for its vast mineral 
wealth (mentioning trona specifically). They wound up 
with the declaration, "We intend to record for posterity 
every vote on this bill. We intend to let the people know 
who were for the people and who were for the industrial 

One of numerous letters to the editor at this time also 
summed up the popular sentiment by adding, "It is a dis- 
grace that no one saw fit to speak up for the people but 
Ernest Wilkerson. As Mr. Wilkerson has gone to bat for 
the people of Wyoming on this issue several times [in] 
the past it seems that we are willing just to iet Ernest do 
it.' ""^i 

After the hearing, HB 229 proceeded to the floor of 
the House. Davis and Casper oilman Warren Morton 
were the principal speakers for the bill (although Mor- 
ton's speech in particular sounded like he meant other- 
wise), with Representative Ed Herschler (D-Lincoln) lead- 
ing the charge in opposition. "I don't think we need it," 
said Herschler simply. He cited the top-heavy nature of 
state government and expressed concern that the tax could 
put Wyoming fuel products at a competitive disadvan- 
tage. Several amendments offered to increase the level of 
taxation or to establish a permanent fund were \oted 

At the time, Wyoming already imposed a property 
tax on petroleum, which varied across the state with the 
differing county mill levies (4.7 percent to 8 percent). On 
February 15, when the bill came up for second reading, 
Morton successfully amended the legislation {o impose a 
6.25 percent tax, with 5.25 percent credit for count\- taxes 
(5.25 percent was the a\erage count\- mill levy). The 
remaining 1 ijcrcent was tlcsignatetl tor the state general 
hmd, as bt-lore."* Hie ('asper newspaper reiiorted on 
Februar)' Id that Morton acknowledged the intcMuletl (Mtec t 
of his anuMuhuent was "psychological and was made in 

56. Pt-rsonal interview with Stanley K. Hathaway, August .'5, l')«!i. 

57. Personal interview with Stanley K. Hathaway, August :i, I '»!{»; 
Digest, Senate and House Journals, I')fi'). 

58. Casper Star-Tribune, February U, 1 ")()'), p. 1. 

59. Casper Star-Tribune, February 8, 1".K)'J, p. ;i. 

()(), Caspn Star-l'nhiin,; I'ehniarx '), l't(>'». 

()1. C.aspn Star-rnhiinr. Frl)iuarv i:i, ['»(>' 

()2. Diorsl. Sniai,- and Uouv louiiuils. I'K)'). 

63. Digest, Senate and House Joumals. H)()',). 



WINTER 1991 

an effort to show the pubhc what the mineral industries 
were paying both at the county and state levels."'^'* 

The severance tax legislation passed the House over- 
whelmingly (forty-seven to ten) on February 17. Two 
amendments to put all or part of the revenues into a per- 
manent fund were defeated on the grounds that the money 
was needed to meet current expenses. Three legislators, 
Morton, Bud Daily (D-Carbon), and Eugene Updike (R- 
Weston), were excused from voting because of their oil 

The Senate Revenue Committee, headed by Howard 
Flitner (R-Big Horn), acted on HB 229 with dispatch to 
ensure the bill could make it through the required three 
readings by the end of the legislative session. On Febru- 
ary 20, acting as Committee of the Whole, the Senate 
approved the bill with a standing committee amendment 
exempting low-value minerals (sand and gravel, limestone, 
gypsum, stone, and clay). Attempts from the floor to 
exempt other minerals such as trona, low-grade coal, 
taconite, scoria, and dolomite were defeated. The follow- 
ing day, attempts were made on second reading to delay 
the effective date of the tax and to have it expire at the 
end of the biennium; both amendments failed.'''' 

On the final day of the session, the Senate passed HB 
229 by a vote of twenty to ten. Two amendments, one 
to drop the exemption for low-value minerals, and one 
to establish a permanent fund for schools, were defeated. 
But the legislation was thrown into a last-minute confer- 
ence committee when the House refused to concur with 
the Senate amendment on exempting low-value minerals. 
The conference committee dropped the exemption, and 
both houses went along with the version originally passed 
by the House. Hathaway immediately signed Wyoming's 
first severance tax into law.''^ 

According to a Casper Star-Tribune article on Febru- 
ary 23, the sponsor of the amendment for the permanent 
fund for schools, Sen. David Hitchcock, D-Albany, 
"predicted that the discussion over the permanent fund 
will continue until that proposal is adopted." He was right; 
but that was not to come until 1974.'''^ 

Hugh Duncan likened Hathaway's leadership on 
enactment of the severance tax to President Richard 
Nixon's establishment of relations with China: "Only a 
Red-baiter could do it." He doubts whether Wilkerson 
could have gotten the proposal through the legislature even 
if the Democrats had had the majority because of his 
"patrician" bearing. He does credit Wilkerson with a 
"substantial contribution" to final enactment of the tax 
because he was an "excellent spokesman who raised the 
public interest," especially with his arguments present- 
ing Wyoming's mineral tax levels against those of other 
mineral-producing states.''^ 

Casper stockbroker Robert Gosman, who was state 
Republican party chairman in 1966, likewise credits 
Wilkerson with raising the public consciousness on the 
severance tax issue. He also pointed to Republican fears 
that if the Democrats ever took charge, the mineral indus- 
tries would end up with a 3-4 percent tax, so it would be 
better to defuse the issue early on.^° 

John Rooney, a Laramie County Representative and 
also Wyoming Democratic party chairman from 1964 to 
1970, took on Stan Hathaway when he ran for a second 
term. In a letter to fellow Democratic candidate Mayne 
Miller, dated September 3, 1970, Rooney noted: 

. . . Although Ernest did not win the election, I believe he 
did win his crusade on Mineral ta.x and that the enactment 
of last session was a result of his campaign. True, it was less 
than the desired amount — but history will record the enact- 
ment as Ernest's accomplishment ..." 

Severance taxes and equalization of school funding 
were not the only issues where action similar to that advo- 
cated by Wilkerson eventually came to pass. He discussed 
the investment of permanent funds for economic develop- 
ment years before the Wyoming legislature created the 
clean coal program or the natural gas pipeline authority, 
which loaned permanent funds at low interest rates to pro- 
mote extended development of Wyoming's mineral 
resources. ^^ Among the bills he proposed to Democratic 

Casper Star-Tribune, February 16, 1969, p. 4. 

Casper Star-Tribune, February 18, 1969, p. 1. 

Digest, Senate and House Journals, 1969. 

Casper Star-Tribune, February 24, 1969, p. 1. 

Casper Star-Tribune, February 23, 1969, p. 1 . In 1974 the voters 

of Wyoming adopted a constitutional amendment establishing the 

Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund and earmarking one 

and a hall jjcrccnt of the severance tax on oil, gas, and coal (o 

111.- Inud. 

69. Personal interview with Hugh Duncan, July 15, 1987. 

70. Personal interview with Robert Gosman, July 16, 1987. 

71. Copy of letter in author's collection and collection of Justice John 

72. "Our $150, 000, 000 Land Fund — A Tool to Build Wyoming," 
campaign pamphlet issued by the 1966 Democratic candidates for 
the five statewide offices; in collection of Laura (Wilkerson) Perry; 
cojDy in author's ( ollcc tion. The two programs here mentioned 
derive funding IrciTu tlu' Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust 



legislators in 1967 was one designed to get more state funds 
deposited in banks around Wyoming, with preference 
given to banks owned by Wyoming residents and main- 
taining a high deposit-loan ratio." Wilkerson foresaw the 
importance of travel and tourism; he worked successfully 
as a key figure in Casper's Chamber of Commerce to get 
better air service to the city, and proposed "Howdy 
Houses" to welcome tourists at the major entry points 
to Wyoming.^'* Moreover, he set forth a program of 
groundwater exploration and development almost iden- 
tical to that pursued today under the Wyoming Water 
Development Commission." 

Jim Fagan summed up Wilkerson 's tireless effort 
when he remarked, in discussing the severance ta.x: 
"Sometimes issues like that handle that way, it takes a 
moat-filler . . . Ernest Wilkerson was a moat-filler."^'' 
Wilkerson himself viewed the event with mixed feelings, 
as expressed in a March 12, 1969, letter to the editor of 
the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. Characterizing the one 
percent tax as a "timid token," he nonetheless noted that, 
"Token or not, it's important that we've made a begin- 





Democratic legislators on January 3, 

Proposed legislation 

Personal interview with Frank Bowron, July 15, 1987; letter to 
author from Frank Bowron, November 14, 1988; personal inter- 
view with Jim Fagan, March 25, 1988. 
7^he Wyoming Stockman-Farmer, October 1966, p. 3. 

76. Personal interview with Jim Fagan, March 25, 1988. 

77. Copy of letter in author's collection and collection of Laura 
(Wilkerson) Perry. 

Copy of letter in author's collection and collection of Laura 
(Wilkerson) Perry. 

Casper Star-Tribune, February 6, 1987, p. 1. 
Personal interview with Joe and Lois Shickich, March 24, 1988. 
Casper Star-Tribune, February 6, 1987, p. 1. 

An undated, typewritten note with the letter read as 

The 1966 election campaign was fought out on two major 
proposals of mine: a severance tax on the state's minerals 
and a uniform statewide education levy which, in turn would 
have subjected the mineral extractors to higher taxes to edu- 
cate the kids. Immediately after my November, 1966 defeat, 
I picked up the cudgels again and continued as you will see 
in the 1969 letter. Success of sorts came when the legisla- 
ture adopted measures short of those I had pressed in both 

Four years after his race for governor, Wilkerson and 
his wife moved to New York City, where he obtained addi- 
tional legal training at New York University School of 
Law and then began work for the Practicing Law Insti- 
tute. Three years later, he founded and directed the Center 
for Advanced Legal Training and the Commercial Law 
Forum. ^^ 

Wilkerson maintained an intense interest in Wyoming 
events and politics and enjoyed visits from Wyoming 
friends in his new home. Lois Shickich, who with her hus- 
band Joe now lives in the elegant Casper home once owned 
by the Wilkersons, remembers traveling to New York City 
and recognizing Wilkerson riding his bicycle down the 
street. "He had a distinctive style, pedaling slow with his 
head up in the air."'^'^' Preceded in death by his wife, 
Wilkerson died of cancer in New York in 1987.^' 

SARAH GORIN's interest in Wyoming political history stems 
from fourteen years of citizen organizing in t/ie state and lobbying 
at the Wyoming Legislature. She is now a political consultant in 
Laramie, working with issue and electoral campaigns. Gorin holds 
an A.B. in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Mis- 
souri and is completing a master \s degree in political science at 
the University of Wyoming where she teaches part-time. 


Wyoming's Bentonite 

by Roger G. Joyce 




7'Aa view of the Clay Spur Bentonite Plant is taken from a pamf)h/et, "Bentonite Handbook, "published m 1934. 

The minerals industry has played a significant role 
in Wyoming's history. Oil and coal are the best known 
mineral resources, but Wyoming also mines many lesser 
known minerals, one of which is bentonite. Northeastern 
Wyoming was the center of the United States' bentonite 
industry for a portion of the twentieth century. The Clay 
Spur Bentonite Plant and Camp in Weston County was 
one of the first bentonite processing plants built in the 
northeastern part of the state. It remained the premier 
Wyoming district producing the highest quality bentonite 
until reserves began to cJwindle during the 1950s.' 

True bentonite occurs almost exclusively in Wyoming, 
although South Dakota, Montana, and Canada also have 
deposits of the mineral. It is a sedimentary rock formed 
from volcanic ash and contains at least 75 percent of clay 
minerals.'-^ On the surface it appears usually as yellow- 
gray in (olor and has a wrinkled texture. While in the 
ground, the color is a dark olive gray and the texture is 

soft and waxy due to dampness. Bentonite is valuable 
because it is capable of absorbing large quantities of water 
causing it to swell several times its original size. Uses of 
bentonite depend largely upon its swelling capacity.^ 

Roljert G. Rosenborg, "Historical 0\'crvievv tor DEQ Abandoned 
Mine Lands Project No. 12-B, Weston County, Wyoming," 1986, 
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Land Division, 
Cheyenne, p. 1. 

Frank W. Osterwald, Doris B. Osterwald, Joseph S. Long Jr., 
and William H. Wilson, "Mineral Resources ol' Wyoming," Geo- 
loi^ieal Survey of Wyorninii Bulletin No. 50 (Laramie: University of 
Wyoming, 1966), p. 10, in H89-21, Clay Spur Bentonite Plant 
Collection, Historical Research and Publications (HR&P), Divi- 
sion of Parks and Cultural Resources, Depart meiU of Connnerce, 
Cheyenne, Wyoming. 

"Silica Products Company," Bentonite Handbook Bulletin No. 107 
(Kansas City, Missouri: Silica Products Company, 19;H), \). 11, 
in H89-21, HR&P. 



Both Indians and early pioneers recognized deposits 
of bentonite. They noted the occurrence of what was 
known as "soap holes," due to the wetting of the surface 
of a bentonite deposit. Because of its natural adaptability 
as a detergent and cleansing agent, bentonite was com- 
monly called "mineral soap" or "soap clay."* 

William Taylor developed the first bentonite mine at 
Rock Creek, Wyoming, in 1888. At first called Taylorite, 
the mineral later became known as bentonite because of 
the fact that it existed largely in the Benton geological for- 
mation of Wyoming.^ Taylor sold his product to eastern 
cosmetic manufacturers and firms that produced hoof 
packing used to treat inflammation in horses' hooves. He 
shipped an estimated 5,400 tons of bentonite from his mine 
prior to 1896. It sold for about $2.50 per ton with a total 
value of $13,500. Taylor dug by hand a bed of bentonite 
ranging from four to five feet in thickness with only a few 
inches of overburden, the material overlying the mineral 
deposit, that was stripped away. He then loaded it onto 
wagons and hauled the mineral to Wilcox where it was 
shipped in box cars.*" 

In order to be of commercial value, bentonite min- 
ing had specific conditions that needed to be fulfilled. The 
beds had to be relatively undisturbed, overburden had 
to be thin to reduce mining costs, and adequate trans- 
portation had to be available.^ The bentonite industry 

started out slowly in Wyoming because of a limited mar- 
ket due to the distances between deposits and industry, 
and the high cost of processing the clay. One of the big- 
gest and most costly problems was the washing and dry- 
ing of the raw bentonite because of its ability to expand 
as much as twenty times its own weight. 

New uses and markets were developed during the 
1920s. The most important new use was as an ingredient 
in oil drilling mud. This decade saw an increase in the 
number of rotary drilling rigs, thereby increasing the 
demand for bentonite. In a rotary drilling system, cut- 
tings from the drill are removed by circulating fluid down 
the drill pipe over the bit and back between the casing 
or wall of the hold and the outside of the drill pipe. Because 
of bentonite's ability to absorb water it was added to the 
drilling mud. It prevented gas and salt water from run- 
ning into the drill hole as well as cave-ins. The bentonite 

4. Rosenberg, "DEQ Abandoned Mine Lands Project No. 12-B," 
p. 3. 

5. Rosenberg, "DEQ Abandoned Mine Lands Project No. 12-8," 

p. n. 

6. Rosenberg, "DEQ Abandoned Mine Lands Project No. 12-B," 
pp. 3-4, 

7. Osterwald, "Mineral Resources of Wyoming," p. 11. 

A 1934 map showing the 
locations of Bentonite in the 
United States and Canada. 



WINTER 1991 

Map showing the Brnton formation oj Wyoming in which bentomte may be jound. 

mud served to plaster the walls of the drill hole, sealed 
off the formations, and preserved circulation. By 1949 ben- 
tonite was used mainly as an ingredient in drilling mud 
and for preparing metallurgical molding sand. During the 
mid-1950s a new market developed in which the mineral 
was used in pelletizing taconite iron ore. In 1980 Wyo- 
ming produced 65 percent of the bentonite in the United 
States.*^ Today bentonite has a variety of uses. Some of 
these include: filler for paper, phonograph records, elec- 
trical insulation, paints, inks, drugs, cosmetics, and fer- 

The Clay Spur Bentonite District was first developed 
during the early twentieth century. As early as 1910, the 
Wyoming Bentonite Company mined the nearby deposits 
and shipped the bentonite in raw form. In 1928 the com- 
pany and former Wyoming congressman, Frank W. Mon- 
dell, built the first drying mill at Clay Spur. The Silica 
Products CJompany of Kansas City, Missouri, obtained 
the |)ro|jerty from the Wyoming Bentonite Company 
around 1930. The company controlled more than thir- 

teen hundred acres of bentonite property near the plant 
and was one of the most important early bentonite com- 
panies in Wyoming.^ 

Companies used the open-cut or strip mine process 
to mine bentonite in the Clay Spur District. By using 
auger tests, the thickness of the overburden, the under- 
lying bentonite bed, and the deposit's quality could be 
determined to judge the economic viability of a prospec- 
tive site. Most of the overburden was composed of shale 
and soft sandstone which could be removed with earth- 
nioving equipment. Before World War II the bentonite 
was broken off the ledge with pick and shovel to assure 
a clean product. It was then loaded onto a small portable 
conveyor or directly onto waiting trucks or cars. With 
more modern ecjuipment the exposed bentonite was 

Rosenberg, "DEQ Abandoned Mine Lands Projt 
pp. (3-7; "Silica Products Company," p. 31. 

:t No. 12- 

9. Rosenberg, "DEQ Abandoned Mine Lands Project No. 
pp. 8-9. 




The Clay Spur Bnitunitc Plant plwtugraphcd April 2(J, 1989. 

allowed to dry partially in the pits. Other techniques 
involved drying the bentonite in storage piles near the 
processing plants. '° During the winter the processing 
plants relied on reserves that had been stockpiled. Rain 
and cold temperatures tended to hamper mining. 

The bentonite mines at Clay Spur were equipped with 
industrial tracks and open cars that hauled the bentonite 
to the processing plant with a small engine. A specially 
designed ramp was made so the engine and cars could 
climb and dump the bentonite in a specified area. I'he 
raw bentonite was then cut, dried, crushed, ground, and 
packed in bags for shipment, rhc icllniug process, to pre- 
pare the bentonite for shipping, involved spreading and 
mixing the stockpiles with a bulldozer to provide a uni- 
form quality." The finished product was stored in bins 
and fed mechanically to packing machines thai .uKoinat- 
ically filled one hundred pound bags rea(l\' for sliipiueiii. '-^ 

The Clay Spur plant operated until l*J7r) wlun it 

closed. Some of the records olthe company were sahaged 
and are stored in the Historical Research and Publica- 
tions Section of Wyoming's Department of Conmierce, 
and are available for public research. The bulk of the 
records from the plant are blueprints and maps. There 
is a set of blueprints for the construction of the 1932 mill, 
layout maps of the plant ca. 1930 and 1932, and other 
blueprints of the plant's buildings. Additional materials 
include Payroll Ledger, 1959-1965, Sumniarv of Produc- 
tion Costs, 1958-1972, and journals of technical data relat- 
ing to the production and processing o[ {\\c bentonite.'' 

10. RdsmlHiL;, •■|)l':(.K\l).nuloiu-.l Mnu- Lands I'ro 
|)|). 10-11; ••Sill, a Pnuhuls Coinpaiiv." p. 10. 

l.amls I'n^jrcl N 
v." pp. lO-'iO. 

1 1, RdscnixT-, ••ni',(.) .\l)an.lcMic-.l N 

pp. i:; 1 1; ■•S,li,a ri.uluMs Con 
[■I. Ri.srnlHTt;, • • I il'.C.KVhaniloncl Mnu- I'rcirri N 

pp. 1:M4; "Silica I'l-oiincts Conipanv," pp. lO-JO. 
i;i. Sec H89-21, HR&P. 

No. 12-B." 



So Much to Be Done: Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranch- 
ing Frontier. Edited by Ruth B. Moynihan, Susan 
Armitage, and Christiane Dichamp. Lincoln: Univer- 
sity of Nebraska Press, 1990. Illustrated. Selected Bib- 
liography, xxii and 325 pp. Cloth $32.50. Paper 

This edited volume of narratives from nineteenth cen- 
tury pioneer women aims at reflecting both the diversity 
of women's experiences on the West Coast, Rocky Moun- 
tain, and Southwestern frontiers and their commonali- 
ties. The first part is easier. Regional, social, class, eth- 
nic, and racial, as well as attitudinal differences provide 
a range of subject matter, political viewpoint, and tone. 

The volume juxtaposes the "wretched life" of Annie 
Green, who with her husband and baby followed Horace 
Greeley to Union County, Colorado, in 1870, with the 
exuberance of Mrs. Nat Collins. When Collins' father died 
and one of her brothers was murdered by Indians while 
prospecting in the mountain, she would begin by recog- 
nizing that she and her mother had to provide "the neces- 
saries of life." She would go on to become a nurse, a min- 
ing camp cook, and, eventually, the "Cattle Queen of 
Montana" as a ranching partner with her husband. The 
chapter titles are wonderful reflection of attitude. While 
Green "Resolved to try and be cheerful," Collins could 
say matter of factly, "To complain was never one of my 
traits of nature." But were these attitudes causes or 
products of their differing experiences? 

I was equally fascinated by varying experiences with 
Native American peoples. While Mrs. E.A. van Court, 
who admittedly had a wide range of misfortune in Califor- 
nia, would describe the "treacherous Digger Indians," 
Sadie Martin was almost disappointed with her first 
encounter with Yuma Apaches, "such harmless looking 
creatures in overalls," who became both hired labor and 

The most extensive descriptions of Native/White rela- 
tionships are found in the witty, irreverent piece by Mary 
Ronan, wife of a Flathead Indian agent, whose family was 
very much at home with their Indian neighbors. She did 
find an anecdote of lear worth telling, when one day a 
Salish-Nez Perce man followed her through her house and 

took hold of the back of her neck before she discovered 
that he was only measuring her admirable freshly washed 
knee-length hair. On the other hand, the Paiute leader 
and scholar, Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, related not only 
the pathos of yet another unwarranted forced winter move 
of an Indian people, but that, in her case, wages for labor 
as a translator were more dependable from the military 
than from the Bureau of Interior. The variety of descrip- 
tions, but especially this vignette, reminded me of Sherry 
Smith's recent book. The View from Officers' Row: Army Per- 
ceptions of Western Indians, in which she demonstrates that 
even the nineteenth century military officers and their 
wives did not share a monolithic, negative view of their 
"enemies," but often respected them and their cultures. 

Commonalities are harder to ferret out in such diver- 
sity, but ultimately they may provide greater analytical 
utility. The common theme may be found in the title and 
the cover photograph of a woman carrying a tray of food 
into a boarding house dining room. The volume reflects 
contingent nature of women's work — of making do with 
available resources, of following their husbands' decisions 
to move West, of finding new occupations (even in secret) 
to enable them to put food on the table. Women's accom- 
modations to varying economic demands is the real theme 
of this collection. Women often had to fill in the gaps in 
husbands' more glamorous careers. When mining claims 
failed, the stock were lost or grazing far away, men died 
in violent conflicts or succumbed to disease, women sold 
bread, took in boarders, raised a lot of chickens, even sold 
engravings door-to-door. 

This is a volume about productive labor in circum- 
stances of economic and personal insecurity. At some level, 
for all of these women, going West was a personal choice 
and they provide stories of energetic people demonstrat- 
ing equanimity in the face of recurring disaster. Even 
before Mrs. Lee Whipple-Haslam's father was murdered 
in a mining camp shooting, she had become "an impor- 
tant member of the family" by keeping the ground squir- 
rels and rabbits out of the garden. And despite her criti- 
cal descriptions of the "quick retribution of the people," 
and the "wild maniacal ways of mobs and unlawful hang- 
ings" in the mining camps, she would describe the impor- 
tance in that time and place of her brothers showing her 



the use of firearms. She imagined that comfortable resi- 
dences, gardens, and orchards would displace this com- 
munity violence. Unfortunately it remained a persistent 
legacy of Western culture. 

Flexibility and resourcefulness are other sub-themes 
of women's work. On one level, even the long, almost 
tedious diary entry by Carrie Williams, a young married 
woman in a Sierra Nevada mining town, provides impor- 
tant evidence about daily routines characterized by respon- 
sibilities, including child care, shared with both her 
mother-in-law and her husband. On the other hand. Sis- 
ter Blandina Segale of Trinidad, Colorado, would describe 
picturesque tales not only of the organizational work of 
building a "well-lighted, well-ventilated school, with 
flowers blossoming on the sill" without a construction 
budget of any sort, but of personally having a successful 
showdown with a lynch mob, using her friendship with 
local Indians to avert sabotage of a mine, and convinc- 
ing Billy the Kid and his gang not to scalp a local physi- 
cian. This is the stuff of feature films. 

Ruth Moynihan, Sue Armitage, and Christiane 
Dichamp have produced a valuable book. Despite my 
mantra that western historians need to get on to the twen- 
tieth century, I love the nuance of the nineteenth century 
prose. I think it is interesting that a letter cost twenty- 
five cents postage, even then. And why did those south- 
western houses have no doors to keep the snakes out? The 
photographs are excellent, but larger format would serve 
them better. Sometimes even this sociologist would like 
a clearer notation of dates and editing, but altogether this 
volume suggests both what our nineteenth century female 
forbearers experienced directly and what is left for us to 
find out about women's laboring contributions to the 
frontier. It appears that there is still "so much to be done." 

Katherine Jensen 
University of Wyoming 

Sagebrush Classics. Edited by Betsy Bernfeld. Lincoln, 
Nebraska: Media Publishing, 1990. Illustrated. Bib- 
liography. Index, xxii and 263 pp. Paj)er $12.95. 

Why would anyone want to search through the iiuislv 
recesses of unused library holdings and the long loigol- 
ten boxes of memorabilia in someone's atlu lo find 
unpolished writing by imknown authors? M'IkiI was llic 
C4uestion I asked mysell aflci a llrst look al Px'Isy Wcvw- 
kld's Sagebrush Classics. Bciiilcld had aniic ipalcd niy (|ues- 

tion. In her introduction, Bernfeld explains that she was 
"warned by numerous sources . . . that early Wyoming 
composition would not measure up to modern standards," 
but that she is not worried because hers is a "historical 
not a literary perspective." With this historical focus in 
mind, readers can turn off their internal literary critics, 
sit back, and enjoy what Bernfeld calls "pure Wyoming 

What does "pure Wyoming 'stuph' " consist of you 
ask? It consists primarily of poetry, a few prose pieces and 
excerpts from short stories written for the most part by 
people you have never heard of before: ordinary forest 
rangers, schoolteachers, ranchers, journalists, housewives, 
miners, a U.S. army scout, a bullwhacker, some lawyers, 
and a judge. You may recognize a few authors' names: 
Owen Wister, Frederic Remington, Thomas Moran, John 
C. Fremont, Sitting Bull, Tim McCoy, Bill Nye. With 
the exception of Wister and Nye, these names are not 
familiar because of their writing, but because they have 
made some other memorable contribution to Wyoming's 
history. This "stuph" is indeed a seeming hodgepodge 
of impressions by a widely diverse group of people who 
have in common a connection with Wyoming's past. 

To find the connecting thread in this diversity, you 
need to pay close attention to Bernfeld's introduction and 
to titles and subtitles for each section of the book. In them 
are clues to Bernfeld's rationale for organizing the selec- 
tions as she did. The book has four parts, organized 
chronologically. Part I: 1830-1880, "Prancing They 
Come," about the reactions of Indians, the White 
explorers, soldiers, and settlers to the events of the period. 
Part II: 1880-1905, subtitled "The Living, Breathing End 
of Three American Centuries," reflects the Indian defeats 
of the period, cowboys' and miners' views as well as the 
impression of artists and environmentalists. The subtitle 
for Part III: 1905-1925, "Where They Work All Day and 
Do Chores All Night," is a phrase taken from a sentimen- 
tal and touching Bill Nye ess.w which is the lead piece 
in the section. This part ol the book focuses tin "Ranch 
life, boom towns and wilderness. Farmers, foresters, 
miners, cattle ranchers and dude rancliers" (p. 83). Part 
I\': 1925-19:)4, borrows its subtitle. "Cakes and Hugs and 
Lemonade. Life's A Picnic. Wlio's .Afraitf' from a 1925 
poem titled "Optimism" 1)\ L.uainie altoi iu'\ . C'.P. 
.Arnold. The book's final sc-ction. "fhe Poets."" contains 
biogia|)iiies and photogr.iphs ollhe authors whose works 
are I'cpi'esenled m Saoi'/inis/! C/(i\.\i(\. Because iutonuation 
about niaiiN olllu-sc- wiiteis could not be iouiul m the 
liteiar\' relercMUc- woiks, this is an espc-cialK helpful tea- 
tuic- of the- book. 



WINTER 1991 

After reading Sagebrush Classics, you realize that Bern- 
feld has done a remarkable job of balancing these diverse 
voices from Wyoming's past. The readers gains a sense 
of the wide range of experience as well as the common 
themes represented in the selections. Some common 
themes that emerge from the reading are the land's beauty 
and its destructive power, the necessity of hard work 
and the toll it takes, the White man's increasing 
dominance of the land and the Indians' decreasing power 
to maintain their traditional way of life. This reminder 
of the Indians' plight is the most somber aspect of the 

These somber realities of Wyoming's history are not, 
however, the dominant theme in Sagebrush Classics. Also 
included are essays featuring the understated humor of 
Bill Nye, narrative poems, amusing poems, and poems 
in dialect. Taken as a whole, the book's tone is rather light- 
hearted. Bernfeld explains that "the most striking charac- 
teristic" she found in the writing of early immigrants was 
optimism. "While hardships were vividly depicted, pain 
was invariably balanced by humor" (p. 4). The works 
in this collection reflect the same balance. 

Tessa Johnson's illustrations provide another light- 
hearted touch to the book. They are fresh, energetic and 
simple in style, providing a nice counterpoint to the 
antique quality of the literary selections. The color illus- 
tration on the cover is especially bright and pleasing. 

As I read Sagebrush Classics, I felt that I was glimps- 
ing the ordinary life of Wyoming's past. Here were the 
thoughts of the many behind-the-scenes folk who played 
their parts in the building of the state as they went about 
the business of living. Often I was struck by the sense of 
shared experience with them — in a description of a place 
in Wyoming that I also have seen, in an expression about 
the beauty of the land that I also have felt. Betsy Bern- 
feld is to be congratulated for gathering up this "Pure 
Wyoming 'Stuph,' " these revealing and entertaining 
documents, essays, and poems to which the average reader 
would not otherwise have had easy access. 

Marcia Hensley 
Western Wyoming Community College 

Dreams to Dust: A Diary of the California Gold Rush, 
1849-1850. By Charles Ross Parke. Edited by James 
E. Davis. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1989. Illustrated. Maps. Index. Notes, xxi and 280 
PI). C;iotli $33.95. 

Editing a pioneer diary is like faceting a gemstone to 
enhance its character without diminishing its intrinsic 
value. The 1849-1850 California gold rush diary of 
Charles Ross Parke is a little jewel, and James E. Davis' 
editing of it makes up a book which sparkles throughout 
with human interest. Parke's day-end reflections from 
April 8 to September 18, 1849, recount his overland pas- 
sage with the Como Pioneer Company from northern 
Illinois, ferrying the Mississippi River above Burlington, 
Iowa, before going southwest to the Missouri River cross- 
ing above cholera plagued St. Joseph; then finding the 
Big Blue-Platte River routes to Fort Kearney, Nebraska, 
before heading northwest to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and 
thence through the South Pass opening into southeast 
Idaho; and from there southwest onto the Humboldt River 
route through Nevada, to Donner Pass in the Sierras and 
below at last to the California gold fields around 

By a happy chance, the companion diary of David 
Carnes, a fellow traveler with the Como Pioneer Com- 
pany, accesses minute information for Davis in the notes 
he furnishes to corroborate and elaborate the account of 
Charles Parke. An 1847 graduate of the University of 
Pennsylvania medical school. Dr. Parke had been prac- 
ticing for just two years before crossing the plains: to test 
his mettle in the new wilderness or to find quick riches 
in California. If Carnes is the more precise diarist, twenty- 
six year old Parke draws skillfully on his medicine bo.x 
and sometimes acerbic wit for pungent diagnoses of the 
human condition along the trail. Davis prefaces Parke's 
diary: "He and his diary exhibit many of the era's 
strengths and weaknesses by shedding light on motiva- 
tion, personal interaction, national character, and other' 
aspects of the human experience." Parke is looking for 
his bearings, and two months underway, among strangers 
in the bleak hills west of Ash Hollow, Nebraska, the young 
doctor begins to define his own place: "How the sick grasp 
at straws! How poor the judgment seems to be, which by 
the way is not astonishing, but we should expect better 
advice horn friends and relatives. Home is the place, of all 
places to die. It matters not how horrible it is. I have seen 
enough persons die to satisfy me that even the presence 
of a friend at that time is comforting, but oh what a 
thought to be buried here, in this sand, away from home, 
and an hour after the last clod is placed upon your 
blanket — no coffin here — your companions march off and 
leave you alone forever." 

After refitting at Fort Laramie, the company 
proceeded to Independence Rock, where Parke is hum- 
bled by its size and imponderability. And on July 4 he 



lifted himself by making ice cream in South Pass with milk 
from the company's two cows and coarse snow from a 
mountain bank. "I soon produced the most delicious ice 
cream tasted in this place. In fact, the whole company 
so decided, and as a compliment drew up in front of our 
tent and fired a salute, bursting one gun but injuring no 

Following this fling Parke grows somber in his obser- 
vations of places and people. Near Ham's Fork tributary 
•to the Green River he contemplated the Wyoming ter- 
rain and its Indian inhabitants: "Snow, grass, heat, cold, 
and mosquitoes, combined with rock and dust make up 
the most interesting part of this country. Our government 
would do well to trade the Indians out of their good land 
and force them on to a 'reservation' such as this and then 
proclaim to the world what a Christian people we are." 

When the company visited Idaho's Fort Smith trad- 
ing post to see the Indians, Parke commented: "The 
squaws were a dirty looking set, short and heavy in build 
and quite dark brown in color. Like the mosquito, Lord 
only knows what they were made for." Embarrassing to 
read, such remarks also frame Parke's character in the 
western migration, when numerous other accounts tell of 
burning or poisoning sides of bacon and barrels of flour 
rather than offload foodstuffs for the use of Indians, or 
anyone else. In the long haul Davis shows Parke as a fun- 
damentally decent person, who returns sadder and wiser 
to medical practice in Illinois after his extended prairie 

The overland experiences Parke recorded taken 
together with his curious sea passage to Nicaragua and 
return home have important residual values for him as 
a diarist, and for us as readers. James Davis presents a 
fascinating portrait of a humanitarian, "crusty at times 
and quick to see faults in others," but mellowing by prac- 
tice. In his compendious notes, rivalling in page length 
the diary itself and addictive in the extreme, Davis gives 
double money's worth to trail buffs and historians. Indeed 
the Illinois physician diarist and the Illinois professor editor 
are well met: clinical and puckish by turns. And certainly 
the book is mistitled Dreams to Dust, for Charles Parke is 
quite restored to life by James Davis. 

Walln Edrns 
Univcr.sily of \\'yo/ni/i<^ 

Dreams in Dry Places. By Roger Bruhn. Foreword by Ted 
Kooser. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. 
Illustrated. Geographical Index. Photo Notes, xix and 
145 pp. Cloth $40.00. 

Why do book forewords need to be lyrical, or ascribe 
some noble purpose to the author? Ted Kooser, Nebraska 
poet, in the foreword to Dreams in Dry Places, waxes elo- 
quent: "There is not an exposure in this collection in 
which there is not an invisible palmprint on the doorjamb 
or the smell of pipesmoke adrift on the breeze. By leav- 
ing the people out of the picture this photographer has 
left them in." The statement describes something the poet 
saw which I could not, or would not see. The author need 
not be shriven for excluding people. Nor do his 
strengths — documentary photography and graphic 
design — need to be bolstered by elevating his work to some 
higher plane — an exercise in metaphysics, at best, and 
bourgeois schmaltz, at worst. 

On the other hand, Kooser's statement that the com- 
parison of images provides not only the book's organiz- 
ing principle, but its theme, hits the mark. Bruhn's Dreams 
in Dry Places is not the poetic, transcendental work of fel- 
low Nebraskan, Wright Morris. The latter' s Photographs 
and Words transcends historic documentation, its images 
redolent of human presence. Dreams in Dry Places, hov^ever, 
is a delightful, sharply focused exhibit of black and white 
photographs documenting Nebraska's architectural 

Bruhn wants you to feel something about dreams. But 
the book's effect upon the reader is more literal than 
figurative. It demonstrates the wonderfully eclectic tastes 
of the inhabitants of a Great Plains state vsho built wm- 
nacular as well as high-style structures. In the process 
Bruhn reveals the subtleties of his vision and the excel- 
lence of his craft. 

The book is like a nuisical composition. Paired images 
on opposite pages form tlu' structure, a n)ntrapumal 
arrangement. Movements, in plaies separated b\ while 
pages, are tied together by the imderhing theme o{ 
architectiual sInIc and detail. Landscape forms the 
pix'lude — ((ui( kl\- introchK ing sliiutures lising \iMtic alK 
from it — and huulscape loinis the linal nio\ (.'inrnl . Tlie 
lirsl two pages ot major aichileciiual composii ion esiab- 
lislies a li.u innmous palliMii ofc ompaiisoiis. C )ii page ten 
.1 gabled (hurcli emerges I'roni the left, balaiucd on page 
ele\cii b\' ail emerging, gabled sloiu' barn, riiere aix" 
al\\a\s oilier nialehing eli-nients in Hrulnrs (ihotos. 
;e a xanishinL; poml in (lie lonn ot a 

howcxcr. in di 
wire feiKi- and 




WINTER 1991 

a visual lead to the opposite photo which is itself counter- 
balanced by a farmhouse in the background. The main 
facade of a lap-sided Scandinavian Lutheran Church, dis- 
playing angular gables and tower, is seen on page twelve. 
Opposite, on page thirteen, is a shingled barn, also dis- 
playing steeply-pitched gables and tower. One is religious, 
the other secular, but stylistic elements of the structures 
are similar. And thus it goes: the verticality of a flour mill's 
gabled facade (p. 16) matched by the interior verticality 
of an Episcopal church (p. 17), the lites of mill windows 
matching interior church lights. 

What pleasure the author must have had in pho- 
tographing Nebraska's architecture and designing this 
book! The images probably were made with a view 
camera set at F64 and mounted on a tripod because, well 
printed, they allow the reader to see infinitesimal detail. 
For a visual person, looking at the photos is akin to 
being turned loose in a many-roomed mansion of 
pleasure and surprise. Each image is a game of discov- 
ery, like discerning the twelve smiling leprechauns in the 
foliage of a tree, or finding Lowly Worm on a two-page 
spread in Richard Scarry's word books. Despite Bruhn's 
claim that he is not qualified as a teacher, he gently 
instructs us in the similarities of detail found in dif- 
ferent architectural styles, from Classical, Gothic, and 
Romanesque Revival to Deco, International, Moderne, 
and the vernacular. In the process he not only shows us 
how architecture is organic and syncretic, but indicates 
how vernacular structures incorporate the details of high- 
style. He also removes some of the pretentious from a field 
of study whose students become aloof via their own, arcane 

Pairings involve not only entire structures, but also 
exterior and interior micro-details such as picket fences, 
porches, balusters, and newel posts. Even light splotches 
and shadows are used for comparison. The music does 
not stop until the final movement, in which a scrawl on 
a prison wall, "Chris Smith was here," is followed by 
a cemeteryscape which, figuratively, repeats the message 
in the scrawl. 

To describe the many other visual elements found in 
Dreams in Dry Places, however, is to spoil your fun. In short, 
the discriminating and exacting work of author/pho- 
tographer/graphic designer, Roger Bruhn, makes his book 
an intelligent and unique approach to the photography 
of architecture. Bruhn is obviously a perfectionist with 
a fine sense ol' composition, a facility for utilizing light 
and shadow and a knowledge of architecture. The duo- 
tone photographs, with few exceptions, were very well- 
printed and the paper and cover stock make the book a 

pleasure to open, touch, and see. The University of 
Nebraska Press deserves credit for their work and their 
commitment to quality publications. 

Mark Junge 
Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office 

The American West: A Narrative Bibliography ajid a Study in 
Regionalism. By Charles F. Wilkinson. Niwot: The 
University of Colorado Press, 1989. Illustrated. Notes. 
Bibliography, xiv and 144 pp. Cloth $19.95. Paper 

The author is a law professor at the University of 
Colorado who believes 'Tf you want to understand the 
law of the American West, understand the American 
West." As a result he has read widely in the literature 
and history of the region and shares his thoughts about 
those readily available books and articles (he lists 488 
sources) that he believes are the most helpful to under- 
standing the "West" as a place. He also suggests a 
"bakers' dozen" to start with that, while not necessarily 
the best books about the West, give the reader a compre- 
hensive overview. But this book is more than a bibliog- 
raphy for its organization suggests a historical interpre- 
tation of the American West and a use for that history. 

While Charles Wilkinson is not a historian of the West 
by training, his sympathies clearly lie with those currently 
categorized as "new western historians." Like many of 
these scholars, Wilkinson seeks to understand the Ameri- 
can West not as a disinterested party, but as an activist 
who believes that an accurate understanding of the past 
will lead to a better understanding of the region and ulti- 
mately help to construct a better future. 

In his opening chapter Wilkinson tries to define the 
American West by listing a number of characteristics. 
Drawing upon Wallace Stegner he first suggests charac- 
teristics such as aridity and a high concentration of pub- 
lic lands managed by various federal agencies. Other key 
characteristics to be considered in his definition include 
a terrain "chopped up by rugged mountains and spread 
out by high plains and desert country," and a high con- 
centration of Indian lands, all of which combine to cre- 
ate great open spaces. But some of these characteristics 
are more pronounced in some parts of the West than in 
others leaving Wilkinson to conclude that a definition is 
elusive. He prefers to examine the West by looking at the 
central forces that shaped the region, arguing that these 



WINTER 1991 

forces give the American West a cohesiveness the other 
definitions do not. 

Wilkinson categorizes the central forces in western his- 
tory under the headings: Events, People, Terrain, and 
Ideas. Under Events he lists, for example, the California 
Gold Rush, the opening of the public domain, the crea- 
tion of Yellowstone National Park, Indian allotment, the 
construction of Hoover Dam, and the World War II boom 
as turning points. He uses these events as metaphors and 
then discusses the literature. Hoover Dam, for example, 
is a metaphor for large scale dam building and reclama- 
tion. His chapter titled "The People" includes a look at 
leaders, at subcultures, and at institutions. 

Wilkinson concludes the book with a short chapter 
(five paragraphs) about the future of the American West 
in which he argues that geologic time may be the most 
useful concept for understanding the region. 

During the decade of the 1980s the field of Western 
American history experienced an injection of intellectual 
adrenalin that resulted in a review of its traditional foun- 
dations. Historiographical essays by Eugene Berwanger 
and William Robbins in the Pacific Historical Review, and 
by Michael P. Malone in the Western Historical Quarterly, 
examined this and Wilkinson's book is a welcome addi- 
tion to that effort. But I found Wilkinson's book espe- 
cially engaging because it seems to invite the reader to 
join in an intellectual journey. This is work in progress; 
the author has not solidified his thinking, but is testing 
ideas and the reader feels inclined to join in the fun. It 
is worth the effort. 

David Kathka 

Division of Parks and Cultural Resources 

Wyoming Department of Commerce 

What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam? By Bill 
McCloud. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1989. Suggested Readings. Chronology, xviii and 155 
pp. Cloth $17.95. 

In recent years many books have been written about 
the Vietnam War. These include novels, collections ol Oial 
history interviews from those who served in Vietnam, let- 
ters sent home from the war, and broader studies of (lie 
causes and effects of the conllict. What Should We D'll Our 
Children About Vietnam? is different in (hat it asked one (|ues- 
tion, "What do you think arc the most iinportaiil things 
for today's jimior high students to understand about tin- 

Vietnam War?" Included in this book are 128 responses 
to that question. 

Bill McCloud, a junior high school social studies 
teacher in Oklahoma, and a Vietnam veteran, several 
years ago was planning to teach his students about the 
Vietnam War. His school had never taught the subject 
before. He surveyed junior high school principals and stu- 
dents to determine how many schools taught the topic and 
how much the students knew about it. He discovered that 
many schools did not teach it, even though almost fifteen 
years had passed since the fall of South Vietnam. He also 
learned many students were interested in the war, but 
knew little or nothing about it. Still unsure about how 
to teach it, McCloud wrote to many participants and asked 
them what they believed should be taught. The responses 
to his letters led to an article in the May, 1988, issue of 
American Heritage. Upon seeing the article, many more 
wrote to him with their answers to the question. 

The responses in the book came from Vietnam vete- 
rans, government officials, journalists, historians, authors, 
family members of servicemen who died in the war, and 
anti-war activists. Some of the people who wrote were 
George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Tom Hayden, Alexander 
Haigjr., Pete Seeger, Robert McNamara, John Hersey, 
Henry Kissinger, and Garry Trudeau. 

As one would expect from such a book, the answers 
are wide-ranging. Some are just a few lines, some a few 
pages. Several of the recurring themes are that public sup- 
port is necessary for any war, that our government should 
not always be trusted, but should be questioned, the 
importance ot learning from history, and that our troops 
fought well and earned and deserve the country's respect. 
One such sentiment was expressed by a nurse who served 
on a hospital ship during 1968 and 1969: "Those who 
served in Vietnam were special men and women who, in 
spite of the failure of their country to support them, did 
the best they could because they believed that their country 
would not ask them to do what was not right. I'd WcUit 
them to know that the Vietnam veteran has iu)thing lor 
which he or she needs to apologize, "(p. 21) 

The letters which comprise 117/^// Should We Tell Our 
Children About I'utuam' wvrc wiitti-n for junioi' high school 
stufk-nts, but they really aix- foi' an\'ont- who wants to gain 
a l)t'tter understanding of tlie \ietnani War. 

Rick Eu'ig 
An /I a Is of Wyomini^ 



Roadside History of Yellowstone Park. By Wintred Blevins. 
Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing 
Company, 1989. Index. Illustrated. Maps. Suggested 
Readings, x and 106 pp. Paper $7.95. 

This look at Yellowstone National Park examines the 
people who have lived in, explored, mapped, fought for, 
exploited, and visited the country's first national park. 
The author organizes his story around the park's five 
entrances and the established roads. You follow the his- 
tory of the park as you follow the roads. The book is filled 
with maps and photographs. 

Myths and Legends of the Sioux. By Marie L. McLaughlin. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Origi- 
nally published: Bismarck, North Dakota: Bismarck 
Tribune Co., 1916. Illustrated. 200 pp. Cloth $19.95. 
Paper $6.95. 

Marie L. McLaughlin was born and raised in an 
Indian community in Minnesota. She was one-fourth 
Sioux. At the age of twenty-one she married Major James 
McLaughlin who went on to become the Indian agent at 
Devils Lake Agency until he was transferred to the Stand- 
ing Rock Agency on the Missouri to work with the Sioux. 
Having a thorough knowledge of the Sioux language, the 
author served as an interpreter for her husband. She 
gained the trust of the Sioux and fearing that their sto- 
ries would be lost to posterity, she took careful notes as 
the older men and women of the Sioux related their myths 
and legends to her. According to McLaughlin, these sto- 
ries "will also give an intimate insight into the mentality 
of an interesting race at a most interesting stage of develop- 
ment, which is now fast receding into the mists of the 

Reminiscences: Incidents in the Life of a Pioneer in Oregon and 
Idaho. By William Armistead Goulder. Introduction 
by Merle W. Wells. Moscow: University of Idaho 
Press, 1989. Originally published: Boise, Idaho: 
Timothy Regan, 1909. xvi and 376 pp. Paper $16.95. 

Reminiscences is the first book published in the Idaho 
Yesterdays state centennial reprint series sponsored by the 
Idaho State Historical Society and the Idaho Centennial 
Commission. Born in Virginia, William Armistead Goul- 
der traveled the Oregon Trail in 1844 at the age of twenty- 
two. He settled in the Willamette Valley for sixteen years 
before going to Idaho to search for gold in 1861 . In Idaho 
he served three terms in the territorial legislature, became 
a community leader, a correspondent, and later a regu- 
lar staff member of Boise's newspaper the Idaho Statesman. 
Well educated, Goulder was a perceptive observer and 
in 1909 he published an account of his pioneer experiences 
in Virginia, Oregon, and Idaho. His reminiscences of 
early western politics and culture are important to the 
study of the West. 

Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of 
the Missouri, 1785-1804. Volume I. Edited and with 
an Introductory Narrative by A. P. Nasatir. Introduc- 
tion to the Bison Book Edition by James. P. Ronda. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Origi- 
nally published: St. Louis, Missouri: St. Louis Histor- 
ical Documents Foundation, 1952. Footnotes, xx and 
375 pp. Cloth $40.00. Paper $11.95. 

Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of 
the Missouri, 1785-1804. Volume II. Edited and with 
an Introductory Narrative by A. P. Nasatir. Introduc- 
tion to the Bison Book Edition by James P. Ronda. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Origi- 
nally published: St. Louis, Missouri: St. Louis Histor- 
ical Documents Foundation, 1952. Footnotes. Maps. 
Index, viii and 477 pp. Cloth $40.00. Paper $12.95. 

The University of Nebraska Press has reprinted A. P. 
Nasatir's two volume compilation of original documents 
first published in 1952 relating to the history of the Mis- 
souri River before Lewis and Clark's exploration. The 
first volume begins with the discovery of the river in 1673 
and relates the early Spanish and French activity in the 
area and documents the Missouri until 1795. The second 



volume explores the years 1796 to 1804, the first year of 
the Lewis and Clark expedition. The documents used in 
the books pertain to topography, trading, encounters with 
the Indians, Indian policy of the Spanish, and the 
encroachments of the British. 

'Dear Old Kit': The Historical Christopher Carson. By Har- 
vey Lewis Carter. Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1990. Index. Illustrated. Maps. Appendices. 
xxii and 250 pp. Paper $14.95. 

First published in 1968, 'Dear Old Kit \ The Historical 
Christopher Carson is now available in paperback. Harvey 
Lewis Carter examines the myth and legend of Kit Car- 
son. The book includes Carson's memoirs annotated by 
Carter as well as three essays by the author and a chro- 
nology of Carson's life. The Carson exposed is not the 
legendary hero of the West, nor is he the great Indian- 
hater some believe him to be. 

The Little Big Horn, 1876: The Official Communications, Docu- 
ments and Reports of the Officers and Troops of the Cam- 
paign. Compiled and annotated by LoydJ. Overfield 
II. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. 
Originally published: Glendale, California: A.H. 
Clark, 1971. Illustrated. Index. 203 pp. Paper $8.95. 

The original orders, letters, and telegrams dating from 
May 6, 1876, until December 9, 1876, regarding the Battle 
of the Little Big Horn, are included in this recently 
reprinted volume. Loyd L. Overfield quoted these docu- 
ments directly from microfilm provided by the National 
Archives. Also included is a chronological list of battles 
during the 1876 Sioux and Cheyenne campaigns as well 
as rosters of the officers and troops involved in the cam- 

The Fur Trade in North Dakota. Edited by Virginia L. 
Heidenreich. Bismarck: State Historical Society ol 
North Dakota, 1990. Illustrated. Maps. Notes. Sug- 
gested Readings. 73 pp. Paper $6.50. 

This well-illustrated account of the fur trade in North 
Dakota examines such topics as Fort Clark on the Mis- 
souri, the Chippewa fur trade in the Red River Valley, 
and the peopling of the northern plains by the Metis, peo- 
ple not citizens of the United States or Canada, but of 
North America. The Metis were of Indian and White 
ancestry, primarily French and Scottish. Also included 
is an essay describing the early fur trade on the northern 

Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists. By Paul Russell 
Cutright. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1989. Originally published: Urbana: University of 
Illinois Press, 1969. Illustrated. Index. Bibliography. 
Footnotes. Appendices, xiii and 506 pp. Paper $14.95. 

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark carried out 
many scientific studies during their exploration of the West 
from 1804 to 1806. The Journals of the Expedition under the 
Command of Captains Lewis and Clark published in 1814 
ignored this aspect of their journey. Paul Russell Cutright 
attempts to correct this oversight of the naturalist role 
Lewis and Clark played by describing their studies of 
animals, plants, and topography. 

A Sad and Terrible Blunder: Generals Terry and Custer at the 
Little Big Horn: New Discoveries. By Roger Darling. 
Vienna, Virginia: Potomac-Western Press, 1990. 
Index. Illustrated. Notes. Bibliography. Maps, viii 
and 295 pp. Cloth $28.50. 

Roger Darling's study of the Little Big Horn looks 
beyond the role of Custer and places the entire campaign 
in a broader historical context. Examined are wide-ranging 
issues such as the relationship between Terr\ and Cus- 
ter, and the lack of a U.S. Arm\- Indian waifarc^ doctrine 
and how that atlected Terry and the campaign. .\lso 
explored are the exolution of Terr\'s strategic plan, the 
role operational intelligence ]-)la\c-cl in the campaign, the 
acconiplishinc-nts of the Indians, as well as new inloruia- 
tion the aullior beHexcs contributes ""to more- balanced 
historic a! judgnu'nts on the campaign."" TIh' book is o\ im- 
sizc-d and cont.uns nian\ maps and pholograplis whuh 
greatly add to the presentation of the 



Regarding "Solving the Jigsaw Puzzle: One Suffrage 
Story at a Time," by Sidney Howell Fleming in the 
Spring 1990 issue, the editor and author wish to cor- 
rect the following: 

Part IV, page 60, column 2, lines 7 and 8 of the last para- 
graph should read: "When a city policeman tried to 
intervene, the Cheyenne city marshall stopped him. 
Finally, U.S. Marshal Church Howe . . . ." 

Part III, page 34, column 2, lines 13 and 14: "None of 
the three lawyers, Ben Sheeks, Rockwell, and James 
R. Whitehead, opposed the married women's 
property bill (though they did oppose the suffrage bill) 
and the provisions (of the married women's property 
act) were very generous." 

Part IV, page 53, line 3 through end: Citation 37 should 
follow removal, line 3; citation 38, with two references 
should be divided into Stanton, 38-A and Cheyenne 
Daily Leader, August 30 and 31 as 38-B. Citation 38-A 
should follow petticoat, and the page number follow- 
ing Stanton in footnote 38 should be changed to 
p. 673. The leader references, 38-B, are properly at 
the end, following manhood. 

Part IV, page 57, column 1, lines 6 and 7 of paragraph 
1 should read as follows: "Even as the bill to allow 
Wyoming to be admitted into the Union waited for 
Senate action, Carey lobbied for the bill, while 
Plunkett assured his audience . . . 

Part IV, page 62, footnote 72: The first cite should be 
1900 Washington, D.C. Census; the same correction 
should be made for the 1850 and 1900 census in foot- 
note 16, page 71. 

Part IV, page 64, column 1, line 13: Add a comma after 
letterhead so that the sentence reads "... Collection, 
which is on Post letterhead, in the Women of . . ." 

In order to maximize space, the editorial decision was 
made to group all citations from one source together. This 
has the effect of disrupting the sequence of citations as 
they relate to the text. The author is glad to assist any 
reader who encounters a problem with specific citations. 
A correction list of errors has been assembled, and can 
be obtained on request either from the editor or author. 


Ernest Wilkerson, Democratic candidate for governor, spelled out details 
of his proposed incentive tax on mineral industries at a lemonade reception at the 
City Park Tuesday night, "When I began my campaign," Wilkerson said, "I urged 
across the state that our people 'take charge' of this enormously wealthy state of ours 
v»^hich is producing so little profit, so little wealth for them. 

"The wealth created by the literally billions of dollars of minerals being taken out of 
our ground is building other cities, other states, benefiting other people. I'm thinking, 
for example, of the oil company which last year made a seven million dollar profit, 95 
per cent of it off of Wyoming, and which doesn't have a single employee in Wyoming. 

'I'm thinking of the oil company operating the Reno Field in Johnson County and shipping 
five million barrels of oil a year to Illinois for refining — all directed out of its offices 
in Denver. Or I'm thinking of other mineral producers, coal, uranium, etc., who are 
content to live off of Wyoming but don't want to live with us. 

"We can encourage these people to be better corporate citizens of Wyoming by giving 
them an incentive to keep their people, their payrolls here. One possibility for legisla- 
tive consideration next year would be the levying of a tax of perhaps five to ten cents 
per barrel on oil, for example, with a credit being given to those companies which 
refine the products here. Last year Wyoming gave up 150 million barrels of oil, only 
a small share of which was refined here. This oil had a total average tax of 10 cents 
per barrel . This is less than one-half the total average tax on a barrel of oil in any 
other state in the nation. There is room, thus, without in any way hurting our friends in 
the oil business, to create an incentive tax, which would be assessed against the oil 
removed in the crude for refining elsewhere, and would be forgiven on the oil refined in 
our own state, by our own people," Wilkerson said. 

The candidate concluded, "I could take you south and west of Sheridan, into oil fields 
within a hundred-mile radius, and show you pumps taking out of our soil tens of thousands 
of barrels of oil every day. I could then take you to refineries hundreds of miles away and 
there, employing thousands of people in the processing of this oil — I could show you that 
not one drop of it is refined in Wyoming. Wyoming's people in this campaign, by their 
choice of parties or of candidates, have what may be our last chance to stop this slow 
economic death of our state — this incessant bleeding away of our mineral wealth to the 
odvontage of other places." 

,1// rxainpir of a prrs.s rrlcasr from Eiiiesi W'llknsoii dunno ihr !')h6 xur for ^ornrior. 

.NNALS of 

Volume 63, No. 2 '^ . Spring 1*^^' 


In 1895 the state of Wyoming established a department to col- 
lect and preserve materials which interpret the history of 
Wyoming. Today those duties are performed by the Division 
of Parks and Cultural Resources in the Department of Com- 
merce. Located in the department are the State Historical 
Research Library, the State Archives, the State Museum, the 
State Art Gallery, the State Historic Sites, and the State Historic 
Preservation Office. The Department solicits original records 
such as diaries, letters, books, early newspapers, maps, pho- 
tographs and records of early businesses and organizations as 
well as artwork and artifacts for museum exhibit. The Depart- 
ment asks for the assistance of all Wyoming citizens to secure 
these documents and artifacts. 


Mike Sullivan 

Max Maxfield 

David Kathka 

Bill Bruce Hines, Chairman, Gillette 
Orval Meier, Sundance 
Juan "Abe" DeHerrera, Rawlins 
Richard Cornia, Cokeville 
Mary Ellen McWilliams, Sheridan 
Gladys Hill, Douglas 
Ruth Hecker, Lovell 
George Zeimens, Lingle 
Mary Guthrie, Attorney General's 
Office, Ex-officio 


OFFICERS, 1990-1991 

Scott Handley, President, Pine Haven 

Dale J. Morris, First Vice-President, Green River 

Walter Edens, Second Vice-President, Laramie 

Sherry Taylor, Secretary, Casper 

Gladys Hill, Treasurer, Douglas 

David Kathka, Executive-Secretary 

Judy West, State Coordinator 

ABOUT THE COVER — Nineteen ninety-one is the 125th anniversary of the battle in which eighty-one men from Fort Phil Kearny led by Captain 
William J. Fetterman fought a much larger force of Sioux, Cheyennes and Arapahoes. This sketch is of the fight which took place on December 
21, 1866. This issue of Annals of Wyoming examines the lives of Captain Fetterman and the man said to have killed Fetterman, American Horse. 
(Courtesy Wyoming State Museum) 



Volume 63, No. 2 
Spring, 1991 


Rick Ewig, Editor 

Jean Brainerd, Associate Editor 

Roger Joyce, Assistant Editor 

Ann Nelson, Assistant Editor 

Paula West Chavoya, Photographic Editor 


Michael Cassity 
Roy Jordan 
David Kathka 
William H. Moore 
Robert L. Munkres 
Philip J. Roberts 

ANNALS OF WYOMING was established 
in 1923 to disseminate historical information 
about Wyoming and the West through the 
publication of articles and documents. The 
editors of ANNALS OF WYOMING wel- 
come manuscripts on every aspect of Wyo- 
ming and Western history. 

Authors should submit two typed, double- 
spaced copies of their manuscripts with foot- 
notes placed at the end. Manuscripts submit- 
ted should conform to A MANUAL OF 
STYLE (University of Chicago Press). The 
Editor reserves the right to submit all 
manuscripts to members of the Editorial Ad- 
visory Board or to authorities in the field of 
study for recommendations. Published arti- 
cles represent the view of the authors and arc 
not necessarily those of the Division of Parks 
and Cultural Resources, Department of Com- 
merce or the Wyoming State Historical 


PRICE OF ARROGANCE: The Short and Controversial 

Life of William Judd Fetterman 42 

by John D. McDermott 

AMERICAN HORSE (Wasechun-Tashunka): 

The Man Who Killed Fetterman 54 

by Elbert D. Belish 



Documents Relating to the Fetterman FigHt ''' 
edited by John D. McDermott 



Wagner, Without Evidence: The Rape of Justice in Wyoming, 
and "Doc": The Rape of the Town of Lovell, 
reviewed by Carl V. Hallberg. 


Cook, Wiley's Dream of Empire: The Wiley Irrigation Project, 

reviewed by Antonette Chambers Noble. 
Norris, Written in Water: The Life of Benjamin Harrison Eaton, 

reviewed by Michael A. Massie. 
Garbutt and Morrison, Casper Centennial, 1889-19(39: 

Natrona County, 1890-1990: Featuring Also: Geological Record, 

Prehistoric Man, First Settlers, reviewed by Walter Jones. 
Prucha, Atlas of American Indian Affairs, 

reviewed by Colin G. Calloway. 








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$150; joint Life $200. ( aiiTenl nuanl.. , ship ,s 1 ,892. Copies ul pnx i,.us and . unv 
of ANNALS may he pur.h.ise.i rioni ilir f:.lii„r. CorrespoiuUau .■ sluuiKI lie add. 
die f'.diior. ANNAI.S ()!•' WNOMINC; arliclcs arc ahsirai iixl in llisioiual .\i)sir 
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The Short and Controversial Life of 
William Judd Fetterman 

by John D. McDermott 




William Judd Fetterman (1835-1866) was the son of 
an army officer, Lieutenant George Fetterman, who 
entered military service from Pennsylvania. The elder Fet- 
terman attended West Point, enrolling on July 1, 1823, 
and graduating on July 1, 1827, tenth in his class, with 
a commission as a second lieutenant in the Third Artillery. 
Lieutenant Fetterman served at Fort Trumball, Connec- 
ticut, from 1829 to 1833, where on April 18, 1831, he 
married Anna Marie Judd, the daughter of Bethel Judd 
of New London.' 

Little is known of William Fetterman' s early life. We 
know he was born in April, 1835, in Cheshire, Connec- 
ticut. His mother died shortly thereafter, perhaps even 
in giving birth. This would help to explain the fact that 
George Fetterman resigned his commission from the Third 
Artillery thirteen months later, on May 31, 1836. The 
elder Fetterman died on June 27, 1844. ^ 

After his father's death, young Fetterman became the 
charge of his uncle on his mother's side, Henry Bethel 
Judd. A graduate of West Point in 1835, Judd served with 
distinction in the Third Artillery during the Mexican War, 
earning a brevet for gallant and meritorious service in the 
affair at Medelin, Mexico, on March 25, 1847. He con- 
tinued in the artillery, serving as regimental adjutant of 
the Third and finally retiring November 21, 1861, as a 
major in the Fourth.^ Judd's wife, Margaret, treated Wil- 
liam as her own, calling herself his adopted mother.* 

Thus, Fetterman grew to manhood in a military 
family, and his one great ambition was to continue that 
tradition. When eighteen years old, Fetterman submit- 
ted an application to the commandant of West Point, 
which tells much concerning his values: 

Rochester, New York 
July 21, 1853 

Honorable and Dear Sir: 

1. "Obituary: Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Wni. J. Fetterman," Army 
Navy Journal, January 12, 1867, p. 336; "William Judd Fetter- 
man," Dictionary of American Biography, ed. by Allen Johnson and 
Dumas Malone, 22 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 
1928-1944), vol. 3, pp. 350-351. 

2. Letter from Fetterman, Wilmington, Delaware, June 20, 1861, 
to Assistant Adjutant General USA; Commission Branch File No. 
F22, William J. Fetterman, Records of the Adjutant General's 
Office, Record Group 94, National Archives; Francis B. Heil- 
man, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 2 
vols. (Washington: GPO, 1903), vol. 1, p. 418. 

3. Heitman, Historical Register, vol. 1, p. 584. During the Civil War 
Judd helped to organize volunteer rcginunt.s, rcc ei\ iiig (oiiinun- 
dation for his work and promotion to licultnaiil (((lone! on Novem- 
ber 13, 1865. He died on July 27, 1892. 

4. "Mother's Pension, June 29, 1872," William J. I'etierni.m, Pen- 
sion File 157908, Rccord.s of the Veteran's Adininislralion, KcroKJ 
Group 15. 

Pardon me for the liberty I have taken in addressing one 
who is so much my superior in station and who must be well 
nigh wearied by the number of petitions with which he is 
annoyed — But I am very anxious to procure an appointment 
to the Military Academy at West Point. I, as a son of 
deceased officer of the U.S. Army, apply to you for such 
an appointment. My Father who died 5 or 6 years since was 
a Lieutenant in the 3rd Artillery, but was never in active 
service, which you may — but hope will not — consider dis- 
paraging. My Uncle Capt. Henry B. Judd, 3rd Artillery, 
served with distinction in the Floridas & Mexican War. My 
age is 18 years and 3 mons. I am anxious to appear at the 
August Examination of this year, but if I cannot I will rely 
upon your generosity (which may be presumptuous in me) 
for an appointment next year. I am employed in a bank in 
this city as an Asst. Teller and whatever recommendations 
may be necessary or may be needed I can procure. 

I remain your Obd't Serv't 
William J. Fetterman^ 

The assistant bank teller was unsuccessful in secur- 
ing the appointment. The next we hear of him he is 
twenty-six years and two months old. On May 14, 1861, 
Fetterman accepted a commission as a first lieutenant in 
the Eighteenth U.S. Infantry, a regiment established ten 
days earlier by the direction of President Lincoln and later 
confirmed by the Congress. Leaving his home in Wilming- 
ton, Delaware, he reported for duty on July 6 in 
Columbus, Ohio. In the School for Instruction, organized 
by Regimental Commander Henry B. Carrington, Fet- 
terman quickly made an impression as being ambitious 
and proficient in his duties. As did all the officers in the 
newly formed regiment, Fetterman served initially as a 
recruiter, helping to organize companies at Camp 
Thomas, established on August 10, about four miles north 
of Columbus. Promoted to captain on October 25, 1861, 
he took charge of Company A, Second Battalion of the 
Eighteenth Infantry on November 28. On December 1, 
he left Camp Thomas for the front. The Eighteenth Infan- 
try became part of the Third Brigade of the First Divi- 
sion of the Army of Ohio, commanded by General George 
H. Thomas.'' 

5. Fnlrv 


. 18! 



. R( 




3, U.S. Mililarv Academy .\ppli 
cords of llie Offue of (he .\il|i 

■s (,»;!, Roll 1'):;, 



SPRING 1991 

During April and May, 1862, Fetterman participated 
in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, part of an attempt 
by Generals U.S. Grant and D.C. Buell to divide the Con- 
federacy. On October 6, Fetterman fought in a minor 
engagement with the Confederate rear guard from Spring- 
field to Texas, Kentucky, and two days later led his com- 
pany in the Battle of Chaplin Hill. On December 25, 1862, 
a reorganization assigned the Ohio regiment to the Four- 
teenth Corps. On the last day of the year, the Eighteenth 
Infantry engaged the enemy at Stones River, Tennessee, 
in what would be a four-day battle in which nearly thir- 
teen thousand Union soldiers and twelve thousand Con- 
federates lost their lives. Holding the center as part of 
General L.H. Rousseau's Division, the Eighteenth lost 
nearly three hundred men or half its strength in an hour 
of fighting. After the battle Rousseau declared that if he 
could, he would promote every officer and many noncom- 
missioned officers and privates of the Ohio regiment for 
their service that day. At the end of the war Fetterman 
did receive a brevet of major for "great gallantry and good 
conduct" exhibited during this engagement. In looking 
back on his military service in 1866, Fetterman wrote that 
he considered Stones River the most important service 
rendered by him or his regiment during the Civil War.^ 
Fetterman's only other action in 1863 was a brush, on 
March 2, with Confederate cavalry near Eagleville, Ten- 

On April 28, 1863, Fetterman left his company for 
regimental recruiting service. His station was Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania, where for a time he also served as muster- 
ing officer. He left recruiting service on March 2, 1864, 
at his own request and reassumed command of Company 
A, then preparing to participate in the famous Atlanta 
Campaign of William Tecumseh Sherman. The Eight- 
eenth Infantry formed part of the Second Brigade of the 
First Division of the Fourteenth Corps of the Army of the 

6. For discussion of the service of the Eighteenth Infantry see 
"Records of Events and History of the 18th Regiment of Inf., 
1861-1865," Records of the Eighteenth Infantry, Records of 
Regular Army Regiments, Record Group 391; Cabaniss, "The 
Eighteenth Regiment of Infantry," pp. 1111-1120; Arnold J. 
Hedenheimer, Vanguard to Victory: History of the 18th Infantry (New 
York, 1968), pp. 48-51; A.B. Gushing, "History of the Eight- 
eenth United States Infantry, Winners of the West, January 1938. 
pp. 1-2; Frederictc H. Dyer, A Gompendium of the War of the 
Rebellion vol. 3 (New Yori<: Thomas Yoseloff, n.d.), p. 1715. 

7. Letter from Fetterman, Gleveland, Ohio, April 7, 1866, to Bvt. 
Gapt. Eugene Garter, Department of Washington, CB File F22. 

Fetterman renewed his own personal war in skirmishes 
with the enemy at Buzzard Roost Gap, Georgia, on May 
9 through 1 1 , and in the Battle of Resca on May 13 and 
16. His conduct in these engagements earned him a 
greater role in the fighting to come. When the Second Bat- 
talion of the Eighteenth Infantry marched into battle at 
New Hope, Georgia, on May 27, Fetterman rode at its 
head, and he continued to serve as a battalion commander 
through the fighting at Kenesaw Mountain, June 12 to 
July 13; the Smyrna Church, July 4; and Peach Tree 
Creek, on July 20. In the siege of Atlanta from July 21 
through August 18, 1864, which included a skirmish with 
Confederate outposts and cavalry at Utoy Creek on 
August 4 and the Battle of Utoy Creek on August 7, he 
functioned as Acting Assistant Adjutant General (AAAG) 
of the Fourteenth Corps. 

Fetterman's last Civil War action was the Battle of 
Jonesboro on September 1 , which resulted in the fall of 
Atlanta. Here the Eighteenth Infantry charged the 
enemy's fortifications and overran the Confederate's first 
line of defense. The regiment suffered heavy losses in this 
engagement and during the campaign, because Sherman 
used his veteran units as the initial attack force in turn- 
ing a flank or seizing enemy defenses. At the start of the 
campaign, the regiment numbered 653 officers and men, 
but at the end only 210 answered the call. Fetterman 
received a brevet of lieutenant colonel for great gallantry 
and good conduct for his service at Atlanta and Jones- 
boro. He remained as AAAG for the Fourteenth Corps 
until the close of the war, and during June, 1865, he again 
left on recruiting service, first regimental and then general, 
serving at Camp Thomas in Columbus, Ohio, and end- 
ing in Cleveland. On September 21, 1866, he received 
orders to join his company in the field at Fort Phil 

In looking back, Fetterman's Civil War career was 
impressive. Rising from company to battalion com- 
mander, serving on the staff of the Fourteenth Corps, and 
being twice breveted for gallantry, the young officer had 
gained a reputation for efficiency and courage as a mem- 
ber of a unit that had been in the thick of the fighting 
in the Civil War. His regiment, according to Fox' Regimen- 
tal Losses, one of the compendiums of the day, had lost 

8. "Captain William J. Fetterman," in "Records of Events and His- 
tory of the 18th Regiment of Inf., 1861-1865," Record Group 
391, pp. 106-107; "William Judd Fetterman," Dictionary of Ameri- 
can Biography, p. 351. 



^^'-1 ^- ^J- ■-.,> 

>' *« »* 

^^f >,i*JI.^'^- ■ ■•"^•^^ -* -»^^ 


Antonio Nicoli, 2nd Cavalry Bugler, sketched Fort Phil Kearny during 1867. 

more killed and mortally wounded than any other regi- 
ment in the regular army. With the exceptions of the bat- 
tles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, Fetterman had 
been through it all, and with confidence born of having 
been repeatedly shot at and missed, he was no doubt ready 
for more action against another foe in a distant land. As 
senior officer serving with the Second Battalion, Fetter- 
man could expect to take command of that unit when the 
Army Reorganization Act of July 28, 1866, took effect 
on January 1, 1867. The legislation reconstituted the 
Second Battalion of the Eighteenth as the new 27th 

Colonel Henry B. Carrington, now back in coniiiinnd 
ol" the regiment, looked forward to Fettcnnaii's toniing 
for no other reason than he lacked officers for his compa- 
nies. In contemplating his arrival, Mrs. Carrington noted 
that Fettcrman's social and professional character had 
made him a regimental favorite in (he past, and added 

that the officer had "earned the reputation of being a brave 
soldier."^ Apparently the rank and file appreciated Fet- 
terman. At least Charles Wilson of Company H of the 
Second Battalion remembered that Fetterman was 
humane to his men, "always looking out for them, see- 
ing to their needs, and saving all unnecessary suffering. "'° 
In the power structure, Fetterman was in an interest- 
ing position as the heir apparent to command the 27th 
Infantry. Because all units stationed at Fort Phil Kearny 
were to be included in the new grouping, Fetterman 's 
junior officers and the noncommissioned officers of the 

9. Artt-r llu- o 
lalioii to s( 

n li;ul iH-cn at Fort I'lul Krai 
unnu-ntrdon ' 'his -vntloiHanh 
il lilr." Sri- MaroaiTt liAin C 

lor a innr, Mrs. 

niUTs and adap- 

nL;ton. Ahsaraka: 

Ilowr oj thr Cunvs ( I'liiladflpliia: j . H. 1 .ippnui.ti . Itibt!; reprint 

I'd., Lincoln: Unix crsitx' of Nchiask.i I'lvss, l')S:!), pp. 214-245. 

10. Charles William Wil.son, 'Wiiuv late ni the l^nkies," \'ational 

rnl'unr. 22, UN'). 



SPRING 1991 

various companies would undoubtedly pay more than nor- 
mal attention to his opinions in matters of tactics and 

Brevet Lieutenant Colonel William Judd Fetterman, 
the much-discussed Civil War veteran who promised to 
lead the much-pressed Second Battalion to glory, reached 
Fort Phil Kearny on November 3, arriving in company 
with Lieutenants Horatio S. Bingham and James Powell, 
the former soon to die in Indian combat and the latter 
destined to command one of the army's most successful 
mid-nineteenth century Indian engagements. 

Within a few days after his arrival Fetterman had two 
experiences that shaped his attitude toward Indians and 
Indian fighting. On November 5, after only forty-eight 
hours on the job, Fetterman went to Carrington with a 
plan to surprise the Sioux. He proposed to take a detach- 
ment that night to the cottonwood thicket lining Big Piney 
Creek in front of the fort, hobble some mules nearby as 
live bait, wait for the marauders to strike, and then attack 
them from ambush. Carrington gave his permission for 
the experiment. It was a bright, moonlit night so that those 
bent on theft could clearly see the unprotected mules. At 
2 a.m. the troops hid themselves in the brush and for hours 
kept anxious watch. However, nothing stirred, and with 
the dawning of a beautiful Sunday morning, the unful- 
filled party returned to the post. Shortly after 9 o'clock, 
the Sioux ran off James Wheatley's cattle herd not a mile 
distant. ^^ Being made a fool undoubtedly strengthened 
Fetterman in his resolve to punish the Sioux. 

On November 7, a second important incident 
occurred. Fetterman' s first duty was to acquaint himself 
with the locality, and, in company with Captain Tenodor 
Ten Eyck, Lieutenant Bisbee, and another officer, he set 
out to visit the pinery, and inspect the wood cutting oper- 
ation. Considerably in advance of their small cavalry 
escort, the officers entered a ravine and were suddenly 
fired upon from about fifty paces by fifteen to twenty rifles. 
None in the party were hit, and a second volley equally 
failed to touch a man. The officers returned the fire, skir- 
mishing their way down Pine Island. Having received a 
report of the ambush from a bugler-messenger who feared 
that many had been killed, Carrington led a relief party. 

Carrington, Absaraka, pp. 170-171; Frances C. Carrington, My 
/Irmj; LzXPhiladelphia: Lippincott, 1910), p. 120. 
Testimony of Henry B. Carrington, "Records of the Special Com- 
mission to investigate the Fetterman Massacre and the State of 
Indian Affairs, 1867," Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 
Record Group 75, pp. 226-227, National Archives; Carrington, 
Absaraka, pp. 191-192. 
Carrington, Absaraka, pj). 217, 245. 

rendezvousing with his subordinates about seven miles 
from the post, and the group returned without incident. ^^ 
No experience could have been more supportive of a 
deprecative view of Indian competence in arms. 

In a very short time Fetterman made his views of the 
situation known. To put it simply in Margaret Carring- 
ton's words, "he was impatient because the Indians were 
not summarily punished," and "he wanted to settle 
accounts."'^ Furthermore, he had no respect for the 
Indians as a fighting force, and his opinions concerning 
the ability of the United States Army to deal with them 
have been much quoted, appearing in practicafly every 
piece written about the Fetterman Fight published dur- 
ing this century. 

In her book, Absaraka, published in 1868, Margaret 
Carrington reported that Fetterman had boasted shortly 
after his arrival that "a company of regulars could whip 
a thousand and a regiment could whip the whole array 

Margaret Carrington accompanied her husband to Fort Phil Kearny in 1866. 
She wrote of her experiences at the fort in Absaraka, Home of the Crows. 



of hostile tribes."^* Frances Grummond Carrington 
repeated the boast almost verbatim in her reminiscence, 
My Army Life, published in 191 1 .'^ The first to quote the 
officer as stating he needed only eighty men to chastise 
the Sioux was Colonel Carrington in a speech delivered 
at the dedication of the Fetterman Monument in 1908, 
which was reproduced in the volume by his second wife 
three years later."' It seems a bit too neat to believe that 
Fetterman ever named exact numbers, as his command- 
ing officer suggested a half-century later, but rather that 
he simply called for a company, which as Carrington noted 
in a letter to Department of the Platte Assistant Adjutant 
General Litchfield dated July 30, 1866, at that time had 
an effective strength at Fort Phil Kearny of eighty men, 
due to attrition, illness, and other reasons.'^ 

Fetterman, always reinforced and prodded by Cap- 
tain Frederick H. Brown and Lieutenant George W. 
Grummond, two fire-brands who deserve their own 
biographical treatment, decided to attempt the proof of 

Ciloiifl llniiv II Can 

his opinion and went to Carrington with a plan.*'' In his 
report to the special commission investigating the Fetter- 
man Disaster, Carrington testified that Fetterman and 
Brown came to him with a request to lead fifty mounted 
soldiers and fifty civilians on an expedition to Tongue 
River to punish the Sioux in their camps. He had refused, 
in his words, "because the country was broken, because 
most of the officers had not been with me in reconnais- 
sance and had recently arrived at the post, entirely unused 
to Indian warfare, [and] because I knew the Indian to be 
in large numbers. ..." Appealing to reason, he showed 
the two officers his morning report, stating that if he 
allowed the request he would have no horses for mail par- 
ties or pickets and still be eight animals short of the desired 
number. When citizens made a similar plea, Carrington 
replied that even with a lieutenant and fifty men, they 
had been unable to protect themselves long enough to ful- 
fill a contract for a winter's supply of hay for the army's 
stock; consequently in his view they were incapable of 
attacking and destroying Indian villages. ^^ This incident 
fed the flames of discontent among those who preferred 
action to restraint, and apparently strengthened Fetter- 
man's resolve to take any opportunity to engage the foe 
in sustained combat. 

On November 25, raiders ran off some stock, and Fet- 
terman with thirty men gave chase, riding forty miles to 
reclaim all but five of the animals, which had been killed 
by the Sioux to prevent their recapture. By this time Fet- 
terman had fully made up his mind about his superior, 
and in a letter to a friend in Cleveland, Ohio, dated 
November 26, he declared that the regiment was "afflicted 
with an incompetent commanding officer viz Carring- 
ton."-*^ Fetterman, however, noted they would soon be 
rid of that officer, since the reorganization would recon- 
stitute the Second Battalion of the regiment as the 27th 
Infantry, which he would command. ^^ 

14. Ibid., p. 171. 

15. Carrington, My Life, p. 119. 

16. Ibid., p. 253. 

17. Letter IVoiii ( larriiii^ton. Fori Pliil Kc-anu', Jul\ :!(!, 1866. lo .Act- 
ing Assislani Adjulant CicMU'ral Lilcliricld. IVsiiinonv of Henry 
B. Carrini;lon, "Rrciirds ol die Sjhh iai Connnission. ' ' p. 76. 

18. For a siu.rl skeli li ol Cnuuniond and liis ( luH krrcel career, see 
John D. Mcneriiiod, ■•Inlroduc lion."" in I'rances Carrni-ion. 
^MyAnny Lifr(nouU\vi\ (Colorado: i'ruell I'uliHslnn.; C '.eunpanv. 

1990), pp. xxxi-xxix. 

19. TcstiniouN orilenrv B. Carrin-ion. •■ Records cl the Special Coni- 
niission," p. 218. 

20. i'eiiernian. Fori I'inl Ke.nn\. N.nviniier 26. 1866, 
lo Charles TerrN , riie Newlnars i.ihr.UN, Chu.i-... Illinois. 

21. Tins inleivslm- d,H un.enl rs lepioihu.-.l on p.i-e (.8, 



SPRING 1991 

Fetterman had his first chance for real combat on 
December 6, his thirty-fifth day in service at Fort Phil 
Kearny. At 9 a.m. that morning, a party of twenty to 
twenty-five soldiers and civilians left the fort for the wood 
camp. About 1 p.m., the Sioux mounted an attack, and 
pickets on Pilot Hill signaled the post in the prescribed 
manner. Carrington decided to take personal command, 
dividing his force into two parts, one to rush to the aid 
of the wood party and the other to hurry north, past Lodge 
Trail Ridge, to catch the Indians when they retreated, 
which was their normal ploy when reinforcements arrived. 
Carrington sent Fetterman and Bingham with thirty of 
the cavalry to relieve the wood party and assembled the 
twenty-one mounted infantrymen under Grummond and 
with three orderlies rode out of the post, leaving word for 
Second Lieutenant Alexander H. Wands to join him as 
soon as possible. Receiving wrong directions from a sen- 
tinel. Wands ended up catching Fetterman 's command 
and because of the circumstances decided to remain. 2- 

When Fetterman reached the scene he found a party 
often under siege by one hundred Sioux. Joining Fetter- 
man and command at this time were Brown and several 
mounted infantrymen, who had left the fort without Car- 
rington 's knowledge to participate in the chase. The Sioux 
raced off to the northeast with Fetterman in pursuit, 
proceeding five miles into rough, ravine-filled country. 
Fetterman and Bingham and the men with them kept up 
a fire as the chase progressed, although the Indians were 
far out of range. Eventually the horses tired, and when 
they reached a fork of Peno Creek, the Sioux surged out 
of some ravines and surrounded the party on three sides, 
forming an elongated horseshoe. 

Fetterman quickly ordered a halt, but, for some 
undetermined but much-speculated reason, Bingham, 
with three-fourths of the cavalry, broke through the Indian 
lines and headed down the road leading back to Fort Phil 

22. Letter from Carrington, Fort Phil Kearny, December 6, 1866, 
to AAAG Litchfield, Department of the Platte in Testimony of 
Carrington, "Records of the Special Commission, pp. 191-197; 
Letter from Fetterman, Fort Phil Kearny, December 7, 1866, to 
Post Adjutant Bisbee in Senate Ex. Docs., 39th Cong. 2d sess., 
no. 15, vol. 2, 1867, serial 1277, pp. 14-15; Letter from Alex- 
ander H. Wands, Fort Phil Kearny, January 4, 1867, Chicago 
Times, February 8, 1867; Assistant Surgeon CM. Hines, Fort 
Phil Kearny, December 15, 1866, in House Ex. Docs., 39th 
Cong., 2d sess., no. 71, vol. 11, 1866, serial 1293, pp. 8-9. For 
monograph on the battle see Barry Hagan, "Prelude to a 
Massacre — Fort Phil Kearny, December 6, 1866, ''Journal of /he 
Order of (he Indian Wars 1 (Fall 1980): 1-17. 

Kearny. The Indians withdrew when they saw Carring- 
ton 's column approaching in the distance, but the troops 
passed by a half-mile on the right without seeing Fetter- 
man's party, and the fighting renewed. Fetterman and 
his dwindled command fought and then pursued the 
Sioux, but could not keep pace. When they reached the 
Bozeman Trail in Peno Valley, they sighted Carrington's 
detachment again and this time joined it. 

While descending the north side of Lodge Trail Ridge 
and approaching Peno Creek with Carrington, Grum- 
mond had glimpsed Bingham and, armed only with a 
saber, left the main column, three men following. Beyond 
Lodge Trail Ridge Grummond joined Bingham in chas- 
ing what turned out to be a decoy, and about two miles 
west of Carrington's position the Sioux swarmed in 
ambush. Grummond barely escaped with his life, fight- 
ing his way back to Carrington's column, but Bingham 
fell with a bullet in his brain. Carrington later recovered 
the mutilated body. With the uniting of Carrington's and 
Fetterman's forces, the Sioux moved rapidly southeast up 
the Bozeman Trail and disappeared. The casualties were 
Bingham and Sergeant Gideon R. Bowers killed, and one 
sergeant and four privates wounded. About 7 p.m., in 
near darkness, the weary force rode through the gates of 
Fort Phil Kearny. Fetterman's first sustained encounter 
with the Indians had hardly been a success. 

Carrington reported of Fetterman to his superiors that 
the officer "knew little of the country, but carried out his 
instruction promptly. Captain Brown who accidentally 
joined him knew the ground, and the result would have 
been a good fight if he had retained Lieutenant Bingham's 
command. "23 It is interesting to note that Fetterman was 
unable to control the actions of his subordinate, and that 
had it not been for Carrington's arrival, the separation 
might have meant the annihilation of the novice Indian 
fighter and those remaining with him. Margaret Carring- 
ton later commented that, "It seems that such a disaster 
has been necessary, to check the natural impulse of every 
one who comes here to chase Indians regardless of num- 
bers or rules." She reported that Fetterman said he had 
learned a lesson, that this Indian war had become hand- 
to-hand combat, requiring the utmost caution, and that 
he wanted no more such risks. 2* 

23 . Letter from Carrington to Litchfield, December 6, Testimony of 
Henry B. Carrington, "Records of the Special Commission," 
p. 195; Carrington, Absaraka, p. 194. 

24. Carrington, Absaraka, pp. 194-195. 



Whatever his professed intention to caution, Fetter- 
man had not lost his obsession for punishment, and now 
the desire for personal revenge fired his resolve. He had 
met the enemy, but they were not his, and it must have 
rankled. According to Carrington in his testimony before 
the special commission, Fetterman and Brown were soon 
plotting to meet the Sioux and their allies in force. He 
told the commissioners that H. Schiebe, Brown's clerk, 
would testify that Fetterman and Brown had previously 
planned to move directly upon Indians whenever they 
should be out of the fort in any considerable force. ^^ In 
any event, Fetterman began preparations for the next 
meeting with his adversary. Immediately he began drill- 
ing his company at retreat in loading and firing by file 
and by numbers and continued to do so until the fateful 
day. 26 

The story of December 21, 1866, is quite simple. The 
day was bright and clear, the weather cold, with snow 
covering the ridges and packed deep in the canyons. The 
wood train left about 10 a.m., and in an hour, the post 
received the inevitable signal that Indians had attacked. 
Carrington ordered a relief party, putting Captain Powell 
in charge, based on his satisfactory performance in han- 
dling a similar emergency two days before. However, Fet- 
terman requested the command, citing his seniority, and 
Carrington assented. Fetterman readied his own Com- 
pany A and a detachment of Company C. The plan called 
for Grummond to follow with the cavalry and mounted 
infantry, which would overtake the foot soldiers down the 
road in time to relieve the wood train in unison. Brown 
and two civilians, James Wheatley and Isaac Fisher, later 
joined the party so that the number of men under Fetter- 
man totaled eighty. 

Carrington gave Fetterman his orders: "Support the 
wood-train, relieve it, and report to me. Do not engage 
or pursue Indians at its expense; under no circumstances 
pursue over the Ridge, namely, Lodge Trail Ridge, as 
per map in your possession." Before the party left, Car- 
rington asked his acting adjutant. Wands, to repeat the 
orders, and then later stopped the departing cavalry and 
repeated them to Grummond from atop a sentry plat- 
form. '^^ 

The rest is history. Fetterman pushed over Lodge 
Trail Ridge and down the other side, where he followed 
decoys into an ambush. In attempting a withdrawing 
action the troops succumbed to overpowering numbers, 
most soldiers dying of head wounds administered by club- 
bing. When the sound of firing reached the posl, Carring- 
ton sent a relief party under Ten Eyck, wliich ul(iina(cl\' 
numbered seventy-six men. By the (inie (hey rt'iu iicd the 

Lieutenant George W. Grummond wi 
terman Fight. 

of the officers killed during the Fet- 

top of Lodge Trail Ridge, it was all over, and the Indians 
were moving away to the southeast. Estimates of the In- 
dian force by officers at the post were from fifteen hundred 
to two thousand. Some Indian sources report many less 
than that, although the composite figures given by Stan- 
ley Vestal based on his Indian informants are the same.-^ 

25. Testimony of Henry B. Carrington, "Records ol'the Special Com- 
mission," p. 263. 

26. Testimony of Henry B. Carrington, "Records of tiic Special Com- 
mission," p. 237. 

27. Henry B. Carrington, Official Report of the Philip Kearny Mas- 
sacre, January 3, 1867, Letters Received, Department of the 
Platte, Records of United States Army Connnands, Record Group 
393, National Arciuvcs. 'V\u- do, ununi is rc|Moduccd in a num- 
ber of reports ,ind iii 11. B. Cariinglon, I'lu Indian 
Question ( Boston : DeWofe ,ind Piskc, 1909), j). 22. 

28. For a descnpliou ollhe fVllerman Pighl .see Plherl 1). Hclish, 
"Ameru an i h.rsc (W'.isecinn. T.ishunk.i): Tlie Man Who Killed 
I'," in dus issue ol . l;;/;,/A ,)/ lljvw/;;.., pp. [v[-b7 . Sl.m- 
\vy \-eslal, ed., .\V,t Soiims oj huluni History, 1850-1891 (Norman: 
llni\crsil\' of Oklaiioma Press. 19:M), p. 136. 



SPRING 1991 


^ ■ \i 

'A Wyomini^ Memorial" to the Fettcrman Fight, not dated. 



Ten Eyck recovered forty-nine bodies before return- 
ing to the fort. The next day a column commanded by 
Carrington brought in the rest. Burial of the three officers 
took place on December 24, with Fetterman and Brown 
placed in one grave and Grummond, whose remains 
would later be transported back to Tennessee with his wife 
for permanent burial, placed in another. In his diary Ten 
Eyck reported that interment took place at 1 p.m. without 
any service or military honors. "I feel much shocked," 
he wrote, "but it appeared necessary in the opinion of 
Col. Carrington, Maj. Powell and others. "^^ The expla- 
nation for abrupt burial appears to have been the twenty- 
eight degree-below-zero weather and the fear of attack, 
but it allows speculation, providing opportunity for other 
interpretations and debate which seem unavoidable in any 
consideration of the life of William Judd Fetterman. On 
December 26, Department of the Platte Commander 
Philip St. George Cooke ordered Carrington to cease com- 
mand of Fort Phil Kearny and report to Fort Caspar. ^° 
Two official investigations followed in which Carrington 
was exonerated from blame for the disaster, although it 
was years before the results became public and long after 
Carrington had ended his active military career.^' 

Even in death controversy continued to surround Fet- 
terman. In his official report of the Fetterman Fight on 
January 3, 1867, Carrington stated that Fetterman and 
Brown each had a bullet hole in the right temple. Since 
Brown had often declared he would reserve a bullet for 
himself, Carrington believed the officers shot each other 
rather than undergo torture. ^^ A year later in Absaraka, 
Margaret Carrington said the men each had a bullet hole 
in the right temple, and they were "so scorched with pow- 
der as to leave no doubt that they shot each other when 
hope had fled."^^ However, Assistant Surgeon Samuel 
M. Horton, who examined the bodies before burial, told 

29. "Diary of Tenodor Ten Eyck," entry for December 24, 1866, 
Special Collections, MS. 82, University of Arizona Library, Tuc- 
son, Arizona. Fetterman's remains and those of his command, 
with the exception of Grummond, eventually found their way to 
Custer Battlefield National Cemetery, where they are today. 

?)(). Carrington was to assume command of the 1st Battalion of tiu- 
18th, which on December 21, had been ordered to be hiadcjuar- 
tered at Fort Caspar on December 2 1 . The fact that Dc|)arl men- 
tal Commander Philip St. George Cooke issued Carrington 's 
orders to report to the post immediately after reading the dispatch 
on the Fetterman Fight speaks for itself. For a discussion of this 
issue see Robert A. Murray, Military Posts on the Powder River Coun- 
try of Wyoming, 1865-1894 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1968), pp. 85-86; Robert A. Murray, "Best Place in Hell lo Send 
a Regiment," Hoofpri/ils |Yell()ws(one (\)rral of Weslerners| 2 
(Summer 1972): 12. 

the special commission that Fetterman's throat had been 
cut crosswise with a knife, deep into the viscera, and that 
the throat and entire neck were cut to the cervical spine 
all around. Horton stated that he believed this mutila- 
tion to be the cause of death. He later said Brown's body 
was the only one he remembered that showed evidence 
of death by pistol shot.^* Some years later James H. Cook 
reported that Red Cloud had named the Oglala, Ameri- 
can Horse, as the despatcher of Fetterman, and Ameri- 
can Horse later confirmed it, saying he had knocked the 
officer from his horse with a war club and finished him 
with a knife. ^^ This story coincides with the surgeon's tes- 
timony. Among the many artifacts in the James Cook Col- 
lection, temporarily stored at Scotts Bluff National Monu- 
ment, near Gering, Nebraska, is a war club identified as 
the weapon that killed William Judd Fetterman. 

Well into the twentieth century, one of Fetterman's 
military colleagues, William Bisbee, challenged the 

31 . Members of the special commission made individual reports. Gen. 
J.B. Sanborn's report, dated July 1867, exonerated Carrington. 
"The difficulty," he wrote, "was that the commanding officer 
of the district was furnished no more troops or supplies for this 
state of war than he had been provided and furnished him in a 
state of profound peace." See Senate Ex. Docs., 40th Cong. 1st 
sess. no. 13, pp. 61-66. Special Indian Commissioner John Fitch 
Kinney, who held no love for Carrington, noted in his October 
6, 1867, report that Fetterman was under orders to protect the 
train, but not follow the Indians over the ridge. See Report of 
SIC Kinney, October 6, 1867, "Records of the Special Commis- 
sion," p. 65. The Military Court of Inquiry, which convened in 
May, 1867, adjourned after Carrington's testimony without find- 
ing any living survivor responsible for the massacre. See Con- 
clusion, "Proceedings of the Court of Inquiry re: the Fetterman 
Massacre," Court Martial File 00236, 1867, Records of die Judge 
Advocate General's Office, Record Group 153, National Archives. 
For a discussion of these investigations see Dee Brown, Fort Phil 
Kearny: An American Saga (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1962), 
pp. 215-218, reprinted under the title Fetterman Massacre by the 
University of Nebraska Press; and Robert A. Murray. "Com- 
mentaries on the Col. Henry B. Carrington Image," Roundup 
(March 1968), reprinted in The Army on the Powder River {Y^trWevuc. 
Nebraska: The Old Army Press, 1969), pp. 1-10. 

32. Henry B. Carrington, Official Report, Januarv 3. 1867. See also 
letter from Carrington, Fori Phil Ke.nnv, Januarv 4. 1867. to 
AAAG Litchfield, Departmenl ofilu- Plane in Senate Ex. Does, 
39th Cong., 2d sess., no. 15, vol. 2. 1867, serial 1277. p. 11. 

33. Carrington, Absaraka, p. 208. 

34. Tesliinonv of Assistant Surgeon Samuel M. llorUMi. I'ori Phil 
Kearnv, July 25, 1867, Records of the Special Coininission. pp. 

35. James 11. Cook, Fifty Years on the Old Frontier [New Haven: Yalo 
Unixeisiiv Press, 1!)23), p. 198; I',. A. Brininstool. "The Tragedy 
(.rFoii I'liil Kearnev," / Iunler-Trader-'/)af>per [Ovlohcv 1922): 34. 



SPRING 1991 

accepted fact that the officer had disobeyed orders. Speak- 
ing at the annual dinner of the Order of the Indian Wars 
in 1928, Bisbee stated that the files of the Order of the 
Indian Wars in Washington, D.C., contained evidence 
by witnesses that disproved the ex-parte statements made 
by Carrington after Fetterman lay dead and unable to 
defend himself. He stated that upon his departure from 
Fort Phil Kearny on December 1 1 , Fetterman had con- 
veyed to him his "feeling of unrest and humiliation over 
the prevailing trend of affairs in the service under an officer 
who had not served in the field or been acquainted with 
hostile rebel shots during four years of Civil War." Bis- 
bee concluded, "Colonel Fetterman was my friend. . . . 
He was of military heritage, intelligently disciplined; 

The monument at the site oj the Fetterman Fight which reads: "ON THIS 

incapable of willfully disobeying a positive order or dis- 
regarding its importance. This much to the memory of 
a dear friend."^*' Bisbee identified F.M. Fassendan as one 
of those who had witnessed the exchange between Car- 
rington and Fetterman and had denied any mention of 
where not to go.^'' 

However, evidence to support the charge of disobe- 
dience remains overwhelming. The fact that Carrington 
had issued identical orders to Powell two days before 
stands as the best circumstantial argument in support of 
the allegation. Beyond that, eyewitness documentation 
exists in abundance. Sergeant Alexander Brown stood by 
Carrington when Fetterman received his orders, and Pri- 
vate Thomas Lewis shared the sentry platform with the 
colonel when he repeated the instructions to Grummond.^^ 
Both men confirmed Carrington' s statements. Wands, 

36. William H. Bisbee, Through Four American M^aw (Boston: Meador 
Publishing Co., 1931), p. 175. 

37. Bisbee had received the information second-hand through A.B. 
Ostrander, who had talked to Fassendan at a G.A.R. encamp- 
ment. Fassendan said he was present when Fetterman came in 
to the adjutant's office to request command and that Carrington 
had said nothing about crossing the ridge. Apparently, Fassen- 
dan did not know that Fetterman received his orders from Car- 
rington in front of the latter's quarters and in line on the parade 
ground. Private William Murphy, a copy of whose much- 
published account of his service in the 18th Infantry is found in 
the Order of the Indian Wars files, now at Army Military Ser- 
vice Institute, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, may have been another of 
the parties referred to by Bisbee. Murphy stated that he was in 
the orderly sergeant's office when the troops assembled in front 
of the "northwest men's quarters of the garrison." Murphy's con- 
tribution was to discount the story of an unidentified guard at 
the bastion who claimed to have heard the orders issued rather 
than to provide any eyewitness testimony that Carrington did not 
issue the command. See William H. Bisbee, "Items of Indian 
Service," Proceedings of the Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Order 
of the Indian Wars of the United States, Held January 19, 1928(1928). 
Reprinted in The Papers of the Order of the Indian Wars, introduc- 
tion by John Carroll (Fort Collins, Colorado: The Old Army 
Press, 1975), pp. 81-83; William Murphy, "The Forgotten Bat- 
talion," Winners of the West, June 30, 1028, p. 7; William Mur- 
phy, "The Forgotten Battalion," Annal of Wyoming 7 (1930-1931): 

38. Alexander Brown, "Served in 27th U.S. Infantry— Fort Phil 
Kearny, 1866," Winners of the West, February 28, 1927, p. 5. Lewis 
is quoted in Casper Tribune Herald, March 12, 1939, part 6, p. 4; 
and "Mr. Lewis Writes for the Voice," unidentified newspaper 
clippings, item #775-Ke, American Heritage Center, Laramie, 
Wyoming. J.W. Vaughn in his study of the battle suggests that 
Fetterman may not have disobeyed orders, mistakenly noting that 
there were no eyewitnesses to substantiate Carrington's claims. 
See Vaughn, Indian Fights: New Facts on Seven Encounters (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1966), pp. 81-82. 



who had repeated the orders to Fetterman, confirmed dis- 
obedience in private correspondence, and all the other con- 
temporary letters home echo the refrain. ^^ 

Garrington showed amazing restraint in his treatment 
of Fetterman's memory, eulogizing him in General Orders 
No. 1 of January 1, 1867, as follows: "Captain Fetter- 
man, son of George Fetterman of the army, was born in 
garrison, and was instinct with the ambition of a soldier; 
his character was pure and without blemish, he was a 
refined gentleman, and had distinguished his regimental 
record and honored his own name by duty well done."**^ 
However, in his final statement to the Court of Inquiry, 
recorded in the privacy of his own home at Fort McPher- 
son, Garrington finally told what he believed: 

No disaster other than the usual incidents to border warfare 
occurred, until gross disobedience of orders so crucified 
nearly eighty of the choice men of my command. I now 
know, that dissatisfied with my unwillingness to hazard the 
post, its stores, and the whole line for an uncertain attempt 
to strike Indians in their villages, (many times my numbers), 
at least one of the officers . . . deliberately determined, 
whence obtaining a separate command, to pursue the Indians 
after independent honor. Life was forfeit. In the grave I bury 

Margaret Garrington speculated that Fetterman's 
desire to punish the Indians and his contempt of them 
had driven him to hopeless ruin. His own inexperience 
in the methods and contingencies of Indian fighting had 
led him to do what he did, and he paid the ultimate penalty 
in refuting the experience of others.*^ The judgment seems 


Letter from Alexander H. Wands, Fort Phil Kearny, January 4, 
1867, Chicago Times, February 2, 1867; CH. Hines, January 1, 
1867, Senate Ex. Docs., 39th Cong. 2d sess., no. 16, vol. 2, 1867, 
serial 1277, p. 9; Rev. David White, January 2, 1867, Chicago 
Republican, February 6, 1866; Letter from unidentified sergeant, 
December 28, 1866, Sen. Ex. Docs., no. 15, p. 12. Letters from 
Wands and White and other contemporary correspondence are 
reproduced in Harry H. Anderson, "Centennial of the Fetter- 
man Fight," The Chicago Westerners Brand Book 23 (December 1966): 
77-80. See also Timothy O'Brien, "Indian War Veteran of 1866," 
Winners of the West, July 30, 1930, p. 11. 

General Orders No. 1, Fort Phil Kearny, January 1, 18()7, Post 
Records, Records of United States Army CJommands, Record 
Group 393, National Archives. 


just. Fetterman's admirable Civil War experience sim- 
ply did not prepare him for the kind of guerrilla warfare 
that was the rule on the plains. At one point, Jim Bridger 
is said to have declared, the "men who fought down South 
are crazy! They don't know anything about fighting 
Indians."*^ Mass attacks across wood and dale in Ten- 
nessee and Georgia had no relevance in the foothills of 
the Big Horns. Fetterman was dealing with overpower- 
ing numbers of highly skilled light cavalry whose tactics 
were never to stand, but to deliver quickly and depart 
rapidly, except when you least expected it, when their 
numbers were vastly superior, and then it was too late. 

It is interesting that while Fetterman gained national 
notoriety as the fatal commander in the December 21 fight, 
his past remains relatively unknown. The life of the man 
who succeeded him in that role ten years later, George 
Armstrong Custer, on the other hand, is ubiquitously 
present in our national consciousness due in no small part 
to his widow, Elizabeth, who lived until 1933 and did 
everything possible to preserve his memory. Because Fet- 
terman's parents had long since passed from the scene, 
and he had no siblings or wife, his story is much more 
difficult to reconstruct. 

Just as the details of his early years are lacking, the 
facts of his last hours are missing. Wrapped in the mys- 
tery of his beginnings and enshrouded in the enigma of 
his death, William Judd Fetterman lived a warrior's life 
and died with his boots on, arrogant and ignorant to the 
end, a man destined to be remembered for destructive 
self-will and the lessons he refused to learn. In history's 
perspective, he stands a decade after John Grattan and 
a decade before George Custer, as an embodiment of the 
best and worst of the military personality, brave beyond 
question, brash beyond dispute. 

Pestimony of Henry B. Garrington, 
mission," pp. 2r)7-259. 

42. Garrington, Absarnka, pp. 24.'3-24(). 

43. Garrington, My Lije, p, 253. 


JOHND. MCDERMOrr retired in 1986 from a career in the 
Federal Government where he served as Director of Policy of the 
President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He is a 
historical consultant living in Sheridan. Author of Fov\orn Hope, 
an account of the battle of White Bird Canyon and the beginning 
of /he Nez Perce Indian War, and other studies, he is working 
(III a book tibont luirt Phil Keanir and the Sioux ]\'ar of 
/(>()()- /()'()(>'. He currently is working on feasibility studies for pro- 
posed museums in Buffalo and Ranchester. 


AMERICAN HORSE (Wasechun-Tashunka) 

The Man Who Killed Fetterman 

by Elbert D. Belish 



Warrior, chief, scribe, traveler, philosopher, and ora- 
tor all describe American Horse, a complex and influen- 
tial leader of the Oglala Sioux. He traveled with Buffalo 
Bill's Wild West show and was a frequent visitor to the 
nation's capital as an Oglala representative. He was party 
to nearly all the significant events affecting the Oglalas 
from the mid-nineteenth century until his death in 1908. 
His immediate family consisted of four sons, two daugh- 
ter, and two wives. One wife was the daughter of Red 
Cloud, and one son died during childhood during a reser- 
vation epidemic' American Horse began his adult life a 
warrior and history will probably most remember him as 
the man who killed Colonel William J. Fetterman in the 
Fetterman Fight near Fort Phil Kearny. Yet his greatest 
accomplishment came in his later life when he guided his 
people through the transition from nomadism to reser- 
vation life. 

Existing biographies are discrepant as to American 
Horse's birth year and lineage. The birth year conflict 
is resolved by examining the Winter Counts kept by 
American Horse and his ancestors. In the 1882-1883 Cor- 
busier interpolation of those Winter Counts, the 1839/40 
entry states that "American Horse was born in the Spring 
of 1840. "2 

Some historians have suggested that an elder Ameri- 
can Horse, who was killed in the Battle of Slim Buttes 
in 1876, was either the father or uncle of the younger 
American Horse. However, He Dog, in his recollection 

1 . George E. Hyde, A Sioux Chronicle (Norman: University of Okla- 
lioma Press, 1956), p. 28n. Hyde states that American Horse was 
Red Cloud's son-in-law. Frederick J. Dockstader, Great North 
American Indians (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. , 1977), 
p. 13. Dockstader states that American Horse had two daughters 
and one son, Samuel. However, he also had three other sons. 
Tom, the oldest, was present during the Ghost Dance uprising 
and Ben served as an interpreter during Buffalo Bill Cody's ill- 
fated attempt to make a movie about the Wounded Knee mas- 
sacre. See David H. Miller, Ghoit Dance (New York: Duell, Sloan 
and Pearce, 1959), pp. 127, 276-278. American Horse brought 
up the childhood death of a fourth son while testifying in Washing- 
ton, D.C. See U.S., Congress, Senate, "Annual Report of the 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs," Senate Executive Document 
5, no. 49, 51st Cong., 1st sess., p. 222. Eli S. Ricker, interviews 
with American Horse, 1906, Ricker MSS., Tablet no. 35, pp. 
34-35, Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln (hereafter cited 
as Ricker MSS.). Ricker stated that American Horse and "one 
of his two wives" visited him during August, 1906. The names 
of his wives and daughters are unknown, bul ;i |)i( lure ol one ol 
the daughters can be seen in Edward S. (Imiis, /// (i Sdcrcd Man- 
ner We Live {^a.rrc , Massachusetts: Barre Publishers, 1972) p. 22. 

2. Bureau of Ethnology, "Pictographs of North American Indians," 
Fourth Annual Rrfwrt CW-Ashinirinn, D.C: Governmcnl i'rinting 
Otlice, 1886), p. 140. 

of that battle, stated that his relative, the elder American 
Horse, was a Sans Arc and it is well known that the youn- 
ger one was a member of the True-Oglala band.^ Some 
Indians even believe the elder American Horse has been 
misnamed by White historians and that his true name was 
Iron Shield. The American Horse Winter Counts are une- 
quivocal on the lineage. The entry for 1840/41 states that 
"Sitting-Bear, American Horse's father, and others, stole 
two hundred horses from the Flat Heads . . . ."* Ameri- 
can Horse himself stated that "there was never an Ameri- 
can Horse killed. ' '^ Had he known of an elder American 
Horse, he would not have made this statement. 

While American Horse's birth name was Cannot 
Walk (Manishee),*' little else is known about his childhood 
years. The exception is his own recollection of a severe 
winter when he was approximately age five: "Snow was 
deep and drifts high. Buffalos would follow along in paths. 
Indians [would] follow and assail them and fatigue them 
and kill them on foot with arrows. Winter of great 

During 1858, at the age of eighteen, American Horse 
received his adult name. Eli S. Ricker recorded the event 
as told him by American Horse. "He [American Horse] 
got a big Army horse and rode it in battle and killed men 
and from this received his name of American Horse. "^ 

In 1862 gold was discovered in Virginia City, Mon- 
tana.^ The existing routes to Virginia City were both long 
and arduous. In 1864 John Bozeman pioneered a short- 
cut, later known as the Bozeman Trail which left the Ore- 
gon Trail near the present town of Douglas, Wyoming. 
It followed the eastern slope of the Big Horn Mountains, 
right through the heart of the Powder River country, the 
unceded Indian hunting grounds. The Indians resented 
this intrusion and began attacks on travelers and wagon 

3. "American Horse," The Readers Encyclopedia of the Atnerican West 
(New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1977), p. 28; Kenneth Ham- 
mer, ed., Custer in '76: Walter Ca?np 's Notes on the Custer Fight (Pro\-o, 
Utah: Brigham Young University, 1976), p. 208; George E. 
Hyde, Red Cloud's Folk: A History of the Oglala Sioux Indians (Nor- 
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1957), p. jlfi. M\clc incor- 
rectly assumes that American Horse and Silling Bear were one 
and llu- same. .\lso see Jerome A. Greene. .S7///; Ihiltcs. 1876 {Nov- 
man: Universily oiOklahotna Press, 1982). p. 159n. 

4. Bureau of I'llnu.loov, ■•Pirlographs,-' p. 110. 

5. Ricker MSS., I'ahlcl no. 1(), p. 25. 

(). Docksladei-, Great Nortli Anirrican Indians, ji. 12. 

7. Ricker MSS., p. 28. 

8. Ricker MSS., p. 2(). 

9. The origins and problems of ihc Bo/eni.m Trail are found in Dee 
Brown, 'I'hr F,1t,nnan Massaor (\ .nuoXn: I'nnersiiv of Nehr.isk.i 
Pr.-ss, 1962). pp. i:!-M. 



SPRING 1991 

trains on the Bozeman Trail. In 1865 or 1866 American 
Horse was involved in his first known conflict with Whites, 
when he rode with Red Cloud in an attack on a wagon 
train near the present location of Casper, Wyoming. This 
was a large-scale, organized attack in the vein of the Platte 
Bridge and Fetterman fights. For the most part the freight 
train was successfully defended, but American Horse 
described how the Sioux took advantage of a defensive 

The Indians cut off 5 wagons shooting the oxen and their 
drivers; then they looted the wagons and destroyed them. 
One wagon was loaded with barrels of whiskey. One wagon 
was jugs and bottles. They knocked out a head of one barrel 
and taking dishes drank and many got drunk and were laid 
out on the ground. This was an ambuscade. The Indians 
formed two lines and the emigrants drove right in between 

Following the Civil War, the U. S. government 
needed gold to replenish the badly depleted Treasury and 
decided to protect travel along the Bozeman Trail with 
a series of forts.'' While the 1851 Horse Creek treaty 
reserved the government's right to build military outposts 
on Indian lands, it also put the Powder River country off 
limits to White encroachment. In June, 1866, while the 
government was still negotiating the road with the Indians, 
Colonel Henry B. Carrington arrived at Fort Laramie 
with his Second Battalion of the 18th Infantry. The Sioux 
were outraged when they learned that Carrington's mis- 
sion was to build forts along the Bozeman Trail. Over- 
night they broke camp and set out for their Powder River 
hunting grounds, leaving the treaty unsigned. Carring- 
ton was ordered to continue his mission and on July 15, 
1866, he began construction of Fort Phil Kearny near the 
current town of Story, Wyoming. This set the stage for 
the most significant event affecting Indian/White relation- 
ships in the Powder River country. It happened on a 
bitter-cold winter day, December 21, 1866, and was 
chosen as the pictographic event in the American Horse 
Winter Counts to record the 1866/67 year. It was the day 
"they killed one hundred men at Ft. Phil Kearny. "'^ 
Ricker recorded the following description of the battle as 
told him by American Horse. 

Colonel Fetterman and party were on wagon trail [near the] 
woodcamp. American H. and 9 other Oglela [sic] Warriors 
went and attacked them. The mounted soldiers were riding 

in advance in columns of fours. The dismounted men fol- 
lowing closely. After firing at the troops Am. Horse and his 
party slowly retreated into [the] rough ground over [Lodge 
Trail] ridge where two long lines of warriors were lying in 
ambush; and troops walked into the trap set . . . and were 
completely surrounded. In one hour and a half every sold- 
ier was killed, also two civilians that were with the party. 
One of . . . the civilians was a swarthy looking man who 
looked like a mixed blood. ... 2 men [jumped] into a pile 
of rocks and did a lot of shooting before they were killed. 
The soldiers, when they discovered that they were trapped 
by hundreds if not thousands of Indians, were badly demoral- 
ized and [did] poor shooting. The Indians had only 7 killed 
and 8 wounded. American Horse himself ran his horse at 
full speed directly on to Col. Fetterman knocking him down! 
He then jumped down upon him and killed the colonel with 
his knife. One of the Indians [who was] killed, having a very 
brave heart, succeeded in riding into the midst of the sold- 
iers shooting right and left. After the battle the Indians scat- 
tered and various bands going in different directions to secure 
game for food.'' 

Although some writers contend that Fetterman and 
Captain Frederick H. Brown shot each other, American 
Horse's version was confirmed by Red Cloud'"'^ and is sup- 
ported by other evidence. The post surgeon's report of 
the massacre shows a bullet hole in Brown's left temple, 
but is silent regarding any gunshot wounds to Fetterman 's 
head. Rather, the report states: 

Col. Fetterman's body showed his thorax to have been cut 
crosswise with a knife, deep into the viscera; his throat and 
entire neck were cut to the cervical spine, all around. I believe 
that mutilation caused his death. '^ 

There is additional evidence suggesting American 
Horse first hit Fetterman with a war club. American 
Horse's war club, labeled the "Fetterman Disaster Club," 
is currently on display in Gering, Nebraska, '*" and the post 
surgeon's report indicated that most in the Fetterman 
party were hit with clubs. 

The pictographic entry of a wagon and blanket sur- 
rounded by horse tracks and slashes in the American 

10. Ricker MSS., p. 30. 

1 1 . The events leading to the construction oi F<jrt Piiil Kearny are 
found in Brown, I'he Fellerman Massacre, \^^. 14-18, 39-48. 

12. l^ureau of Ethnology, "Pictographs," p. 144. 

13. Ricker MSS., p. 18. Ricker interspersed shorthand throughout 
his text. Where possible the English eqi.ivalent is substituted. The 
words within brackets are best guesses where the shorthand sym- 
bols were less than clear. The ellipsis represent shorthand sym- 
bols which were indecipherable. 

14. James H. Cook, Fifty Years on the Old Frontier (Norman: Univer- 
sity of Oklahoma Press, 1957), p. 198. 

15. Statement of Post Surgeon, Samuel Horton, "Records of the Spe- 
cial Commission to investigate the Fetterman Massacre and the 
State of Indian Affairs," Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 
Record Group 75, National Archives. 

16. The war club resides in the archives of the Agate Fossil Beds 
National Monument in Gering, Nebraska, catalog no. AGFO 355. 



Horse Winter Counts for 1867/68 is the last of the entries 
depicting hostilities against Whites. Corbusier interpolated 
the entry as follows: "They [the Oglalas] captured a train 
of wagons near Tongue River. The men who were with 
it got away. The blanket represents the goods found in 
the wagon. "'^ That the more dramatic Wagon Box and 
Hayfield fights were not chosen for the Winter Counts 
is a strong suggestion that American Horse and the True- 
Oglala band were not a party to those events. 

Eighteen sixty-eight is known as the year of peace in 
the Powder River country, and by the end of August, 
1868, all the forts on the Bozeman Trail had been aban- 
doned by the Army.^^ As promised, Red Cloud and the 
Sioux came in to treat now that the army was gone. 
Incredibly, in signing the 1868 Treaty, the Indians agreed 
to relocate to reservations in South Dakota. Although sub- 
sequent events would suggest that they did not really 
understand the scope of the treaty, they essentially relin- 
quished all they had gained with their Powder River 
resistance. For the Powder River Sioux the dynamic now 
shifted from fighting Whites to treating with the govern- 
ment and engaging in a host of negotiations, bickering, 
and discussions about the meaning of the treaties. Ameri- 
can Horse was involved in most of these events and con- 
tinued to gain prominence as a leader. 

During April, 1870, Red Cloud requested a visit to 
the Great White Father to discuss the 1868 treaty.'^ The 
request was granted and Red Cloud, along with Sitting 
Bear and thirteen other chiefs, visited Washington. Ameri- 
can Horse was not a member of the group, but he was 
the most important warrior to remain behind. James C. 
Olson stated that "at one time there were a thousand 
lodges camped across the Platte [from Ft. Laramie] under 
the leadership of American Horse, who came to the fort 
frequently to inquire about the travelers. "2° 

Later that year when the commissioners came to Fort 
Laramie to tie up loose ends following the negotiations 
in Washington, American Horse, accompanied by Red 
Cloud and others, made his first known appearance at 
a commissioners' meeting. The Indians rejected the 
proposal of any agency at Rawhide Buttes and the com- 
missioners returned empty handed. 

During February, 1871, despite all the Indian agency 
efforts to move the Sioux away from Fort Laramie and 
onto the reservation, the government found itself with 
nearly three thousand Sioux who wanted to hunt on the 
Republican River where game was plentiful. The army, 
in its continual power play with the Indian agency, decided 
to issue rations instead. General Christopher C. Augur 
conducted a head count and the results showed the second 
largest Sioux band (sixty lodges or three hundred peo- 
ple) to be under the leadership of American Horse. Red 
Cloud's band was slightly larger with seventy-eight lodges 
or three hundred and ninety persons. Records of the 1870 
trip to Washington indicated Sitting Bear as the leader 
of the True Oglala band, but this later census shows that 
he had then been replaced by his son American Horse. ^^ 

There is no record of American Horse's activities from 
February, 1871, through May, 1875. He neither traveled 
to Washington during May, 1872, nor took part in the 
acrimonious debate over the agency move to the White 
River. In his Winter counts for 1874-1875 American 
Horse depicted a building, a flag, and flag staff being 
struck with an ax. Corbusier interpolates this as follows: 

The Oglalas at the Red Cloud Agency, near Fort Robin- 
son, cut to pieces the flag staff which their agent had had 
cut and hauled, but which they would not allow him to erect, 
as they did not wish to have a flag flying over their agency. -- 

There is no indication that American Horse was involved 
in this siege, probably led by northern Indians wintering 
at the agency, who saw the flag as a symbol of soldiers 
and war.'-^ 

Even though there is no record of American Horse's 
activities, he had not been idle during these times. As indi- 
cated, he was becoming an important Oglala leader and 
American Horse stated that in 1875 he was elevated to 
the status of chief: 

... at one time four of them [Siou.x] were appointed chiefs; 
himself first, Young Man Afraid, Crazy Horse, and Sword 
(now dead) a brother to George Sword. These appointments 
were made 31 years ago by the people as [the foiu'] ha\ing 
been great warriors.-* 

While the Oglalas were self-absorbed in the issues of 
agency location and agency j:)olitics, other forces were at 

17. Bureau of [Ethnology, "Pictograplis," p. 111. 

18. A discussion of the events culminaling in the 1868 treaty is found 
in James C. Olson, Red Clou/I and the Sioux Problem (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 19(i5), p]). 79-82. 

19. Events for the years 1870 and 1871 are found in Olson, Rrd Cloud. 
pp. 117-i;51. 

20. Ibid., |). I 17. 

21. Hyde, Rrd Cloud's Folk, p. 312. 

22. Bureau (.1 I'lhnology, '•PicUigraphs, ' ' p. 1 l,r 

2:?. Olson, Rrd Cloud, pp. 1()9-I70. The nonlu-in Indi, ins were primar- 
iK Ihe Sans .\rc, Munkpapas, and Mnnconjous ,S,oux ,nul Nonh- 
crn Chevnne. I'lu- sonlluan Indi.nis vvere pinn.uilv (he Ogl.iia 
aiul Bi ule Sioux. ,\l .nn -iven Inne ihrre \ consuleiable nuer- 
nnxni- of liu- norlhern ,nul sonlh.r 

24. Kuker MSS., p. 23. 




SPRING 1991 

work on the reservation. The ink was barely dry on the 
treaty of 1868, which forbade Whites in the Black Hills, 
when rumors of gold began to circulate in the East. 
Rumors fed speculation and Whites gathered for an all 
out assault. In 1874 the army, in an attempt to defuse 
the issue, sent Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer on 
a scientific/military expedition to lay the gold rumors to 
rest. 2^ The unintended result was just the reverse. Cus- 
ter turned the expedition into a carnival replete with a 
brass marching band and a bevy of reporters. The 
reporters sent back glowing reports of abundant gold, Cus- 
ter declared the Indians were of no problem, and the 
floodgates were opened. This issue of the Black Hills would 
be central to negotiations with the Sioux for many years. 

During May, 1875, American Horse accompanied 
Red Cloud and others on a trip to Washington, D.C.^*" 
The reason for the trip, the Indians thought, was to negoti- 
ate the removal of Red Cloud's adversary, J.J. Saville, 
the agent at the Red Cloud Agency. But the government's 
hidden agenda was to persuade them to cede the Black 
Hills and their hunting rights in Nebraska and on the 
Smokey Hill River. Red Cloud argued his case badly and 
Saville was not sacked, but the Sioux outmaneuvered the 
White negotiators and no concessions were granted on 
the Black Hills or the hunting rights. ^^ 

American Horse had been relatively unobtrusive dur- 
ing this visit with the exception of his arrival in Washing- 
ton. During the journey there had been a lot of bickering 
about the interpreters. The Sioux accused the agents of 
controlling the interpreter selection and excluding inter- 
preters desired by the Indians. The Indians were in an 
unpleasant mood. A representative of the Indian office 
customarily escorted the Indians to a "decent" hotel. 
However, six of the Indians, led by American Horse and 
probably influenced by the ner' do well half-breed, Leon 
Pallady, objected and went to the Washington House to 
stay. They were later persuaded to return to the Tremont 
House when the government refused to pay the bill. The 
objection to the Washington House according to the New 
York Times 

. . . was for moral reasons .... Delegations of Indians for- 
merly quartered at the Washington House were clandestinely 

afforded opportunities to indulge in scandalous excesses, 
which it is intended shall not be repeated. ■^'^ 

The Allison Commission journeyed to the Red Cloud 
Agency during September, 1875, to obtain the sale of the 
Black Hills. The commission failed in its mission, but did 
gain the concession of hunting rights in Nebraska and on 
the Smokey Hill River. ^^ Near the beginning of the talks 
an incident erupted which mightily excited the commis- 
sioners. American Horse described the incident as follows: 

Litde Big Man, with some Sioux warriors, noisly [sic] naked 
and painted; these were followed by Sioux and Cheyenne — 
all were singing and discharging their weapons. The com- 
missioners requested Red Cloud and Spotted Tail each to 
send four braves to quell the turbulence of the insolent 
Indians. The former sent American Horse, George Sword, 
Young Man Afraid of his Horses and Hollow Horn, while 
Spotted Tail on his part appointed Crow Dog, Black Crow, 
Looking Horse & Big Star. They suppressed the disorder, 
but Little Big Man threatened to kill a commissioner and 
any chief that would consent to sell the Black Hills. ^^ 

The failure of the Allison Commission had two effects 
which eventually resolved the "Indian problem." The first 
was to apprise all the Indians that the U.S. was trying 
to obtain the Black Hills. This solidified their resolve, 
especially that of the northern Indians, to resist any such 
acquisition. The second was the recommendation of the 
commission to turn the problem of the northern Indians 
over to the military. Lieutenant General Philip H. 
Sheridan, commander of the Military Division of the Mis- 
souri, acted quickly and set in motion his famous three 
pronged pincer movement under the commands of 
General Alfred H. Terry, Colonel John Gibbon, and 
General George C. Crook. The Winter Campaign of 1875 
faltered, but the presence of troops in the field plus the 
Black Hills issue caused the northern Indians to be in an 
uproar in the spring of 1876.^' Even Red Cloud was speak- 
ing aggressively. There were charges that the Oglalas were 
taking supplies to them and Red Cloud's son Jack and 
other braves even joined the northern tribes. All this 
activity culminated in that fateful day in June when Custer 
and his entire command were annihilated in the Battle 
of the Little Big Horn. Fateful not only because an entire 
command was destroyed, but because this dramatic Indian 
victory spelled the death knell of the nomadic Plains 

25. Details of the Custer exjx-dition arc found in Olson, Red Cloud, 
pp. 172-1 7:-!. 

26. Details about the May, 187.5, trip to Washington, D.C. arc found 
in Olson, Red Cloud, pp. 175-188. 

27. The hunting rights were ceded the Following month at Pine Ridge. 
See CJLson, Red Cloud, p. 188. 


Ibid., p. 178. 


Ibid., p. 210. 


Ricker MSS., Tablet no. 35, 

pp. 33-34. 


Events of 1876-1877 can be 

found in Olsi 

on. Red Cloud, 





Red Cloud (I) and American Horse. "The two most, noted Chiefs now living" 

Indian. Within little more than a year's time, virtually 
all the Indian holdouts were relocated to reservations. The 
government's get tough policy also had a marked effect 
on the treatied Indians already living on reservations. 
The Indian agents were ordered to turn the agencies 
over to the military. The military commanders, with Cus- 
ter's defeat fresh in their minds, were definitely not in 
a benevolent mood. Neither was Congress as it directed 
the president to send a commission to the Indians with 
an ultimatum demanding the cession of the Black Hills. 
Unlike the gentle Allison Commission, the Manypenny 
Commission was tough and fulfilled its charge. It spent 
little time rehashing the particulars of the agreement and 
even abrogated the legal requirement requiring treaty 
changes be approved by three-fourths of all adult biaves. 
Instead, the commission called for two headmen from each 
band to represent the entire band. The headmen were 
quickly persuaded to sign the agreement, bul from llieir 

closing statements it would appear that few understood 
what they were signing. The one exception was Ameri- 
can Horse. While the others complained about agents and 
the lack of Indians holding agency jobs or requested farm- 
ing implements, none brought up the issue of the Black 
Hills. American Horse, however, stated: 'Tn regard to 
this arrangement about the Black Hills it is to last as long 
as we last. " ^2 

This statement and an incident which occurred a few 
days earlier on September 2, 1876, provide a hint of 
American Horse's thinking. The incident was a distur- 
bance at Fort Robinson in which American Horse, while 
assisting the Indian police, killed Sioux Jim. ^^ These events 
suggest that American Horse realized that in order to sur- 
vive, the Sioux would have to deal with the White man 
on his terms and obey his laws. This tightrope between 
the old ways and the new was the path American Horse 
chose to walk as he led his people into the twentieth 

American Horse's position was prophetic, for within 
a month Colonel Ronald S. MacKenzie, under orders of 
General Crook, surrounded the Oglalas late one night at 
Chadron Creek. The army confiscated 722 horses, all 
guns, and ammunition. The braves were immediately 
marched to the post stockade and the remaining Indians 
moved to the agency the following morning. Crook then 
set out after Crazy Horse who led the army on a wild goose 
chase over the Powder River country. Crook adopted a 
new tactic and convinced Red Cloud and Spotted Tail 
to effect Crazy Horse's surrender. The two chiefs and a 
large group of braves soon located Crazy Horse and sent 
back word that Crazy Horse could not come in because 
of the poor condition of both his people and their ponies. 
Crook wanted no delays so he sent out Rosencrans with 
ten wagonloads of rations and one hundred head of cat- 
tle. He was guided by fifty Sioux scouts under the leader- 
ship of American Horse. 

At the agency Crazy Horse proved to be almost as 
troublesome as he was on the run. He was easily the most 
glamorous figure there and he used his popularity to fer- 
ment trouble. He threatened to bolt the agency with a 
large band of followers. American Horse, Red Cloud, and 
the others were becoming reconciled to llu'ir new exis- 
tenc(> and did not want troul)le. The\- councilcHl togcnher 
lor st'Ni'rai (la\s, but were unable to ani\e at a solution. 

:V1. •"riu-'rivalvdllVarc'" IlirChiaiiio Times. Scji 

,,. 7. 
;53. Ri.krr M.SS., l',.!)!,! nn, 1(>, pii. :55-;Ui. 



SPRING 1991 

The Red Cloud Agency, 
January 10, 1876. 

On September 4, 1877, Crook ordered Crazy Horse 
arrested. One day later Crazy Horse was killed in an inci- 
dent still controversial. American Horse's version of the 
final moments of Crazy Horse was as follows: 

In the struggle to escape from his captors he was held around 
the waist by an Indian who seized him from behind, while 
Little Big Man grasped his wrist and hand in which he held 
his knife. By turning his hand adroitly he gave Little Big 
Man a wound in his arm which caused him to release the 
hold; and thereupon making a violent effort to disengage 
himself he surged against a bayonet in the hands of one of 
the guards who was standing as a guard against the infan- 
try and swaying his piece forward and backward. The bayo- 
net entered his side below the ribs inflicting a mortal wound 
. . . during the scuffle [American Horse] threw his gun down 
on Crazy Horse to shoot him, but some Indians pressed 
between them and prevented him from taking his [Crazy 
Horse's] life.'^ 

Within three weeks the Sioux chiefs were once again 
ill Washington. Ostensibly the purpose was to protest a 
provision of the recent Black Hills agreement which called 
for the Indians to relocate to the Missouri River. However, 
they also wanted to meet the new Great Father, Ruther- 
ford B. Hayes. Almost to a man the Indians sounded the 

:'A. Rickcr MSS., Tablet no. 35, pp. 35-36. 

same theme: no move to the Missouri. There were two 
main reasons. The most important was the impractical- 
ity of moving so close to the impending winter season. 
The other reason, somewhat more fatuous, was the 
unsavory influence of the Missouri River which was both 
a "whiskey road" and, with its enterprising White men, 
a corrupting influence on Indian women. Several also 
wanted something to take back, such as forty dollars, a 
trunk, and an overcoat. They got thirty dollars, a valise, 
and overcoat. 

American Horse's speech stands in great contrast to 
these statements. Where the others were practical, he was 
visionary; where they were demanding, he was concilia- 
tory. He was codifying his vision of a new life: 

My great father, the loafer band has been the friend of the 
white man for a long number of years. I represent that band 
and have come down to hear what you have to say. My peo- 
ple who have spoken to you want a plain and wide road, 
and I want to travel in that road also. The reason we are 
poor, and the reason that our fathers and grand-fathers were 
poor is, we never had any white man to help us, and that 
is why we live poorly. You are our new Great Father and 
take the place of our old one; and General Crook and Cap- 
tain Clark have carried out your orders. Wc have finished 
everything, and we wanl lo |jick out lands, and to have an 



Agency to live like white men. I want you to know the way 
you advise your people to live so that I may live that way 
also. We come here to learn your wishes, and we want a 
good road and a good agency.^'' 

The Indians returned home only to find that their trip 
to Washington had been in vain as their provisions had 
been shipped up the Missouri to the new agency. If they 
did not move they would surely starve. Crook outfitted 
them as best he could with provisions from Camp Robin- 
son, and on October 25, 1877, more than four thousand 
Indians departed for the Missouri. They stopped when 
they reached the White River, some eighty miles short 
of their expected destination. For nearly a year the govern- 
ment pressured the Sioux, but they refused to move one 
foot closer to the Missouri. Finally during September, 
1878, the Indians, tiring of the harangue and with winter 
once again impending, simply packed up and moved to 
the White Clay River, the site originally agreed to by 
President Hayes. This ended the hassle over a permanent 
agency, but the government, intent on having the last 
word, renamed the agency, "Pine Ridge." 

With the Indians safely ensconced on the reservation, 
the government stepped up the forces of acculturation. 
In March, 1879, a new agent, Valentine T. McGilly- 
cuddy, arrived at Pine Ridge. ^"^ He immediately concluded 
that the old line chiefs were an obstruction to progress 
and he tried to arrange the deposition of Red Cloud as 
head chief. When put to a vote, however. Red Cloud won 
a resounding victory with only five no votes of the more 
than one hundred votes cast by the headmen and chiefs. 
American Horse decided to write the following letter to 
the president, explaining the incident: 

Red Cloud was chosen almost without opposition .... He 
has been our head chief, he is now and always will be, 
because the Nation love, respect and believe in him. We ask 
and beg of you to take our present agent from us and give 
us another in his place so our people can be at peace once 
more which they will never be as long as he remains with us. " 

This was the beginning of a long running feud 
between the agent and the Oglalas. Two years later dur- 
ing April, 1882, McGillycuddy, feeling he had improved 
his position with the Indians, called a general council with 
the chiefs. American Horse and others spoke and 
McGillycuddy felt he had received a vote of confidence. 
Subsequent events would suggest otherwise. 

That summer the Indians completed their Sun Dance 
with no untoward incidents, but shortly afterward Red 
Cloud, American Horse, and several others left the reser- 
vation without a pass to attend a feast at the ranch of Louis 
Shangran (a half breed whom had been evicted from the 
reservation). While there they prepared their third peti- 
tion requesting McGillycuddy's removal. Tensions 
mounted and McGillycuddy called another general coun- 
cil. During the council American Horse extended his 
hand, but McGillycuddy would have none of it. Upset, 
American Horse said, "I have seen nothing wrong at the 
Agency. You have refused to shake hands with me, I don't 
know what for. I simply wanted to explain the present 
trouble." McGillycuddy retorted, "This is no place to 
explain. You should have sent your explanation to the 
Great Father with the letter you sent to make trouble. "^^ 
As usual American Horse was walking his tightrope, but 
none too successfully. 

Following the Black Hills cession. White emigration 
accelerated. Soon the settlers were demanding a corridor 
through the Sioux reservation which cut the state in half. 
The settlers also had their eyes on all that idle reserva- 
tion land. Consequently, in 1882, Congress appropriated 
money and appointed the Edmund's Commission to 
secure more Sioux land. The crux of the cession was a 
mere eleven million acres to the north of Pine Ridge. The 
Edmund's Commission was unsuccessful, as were other 
negotiating attempts that persisted for a period of six years. 
American Horse seems to have been in the background 
during this period as there is no record of his involvement. 
In fact he was absent from the reservation for about a year 
when he replaced Sitting Bull as the main Indian attrac- 
tion in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.^^ 

There is a delightful photograph taken at Staten Island 
in 1886 with American Horse dressed in full chieftain rega- 
lia, standing to Buffalo Bill's immediate left. American 
Horse is resting his hand on Buffalo Bill's shoulder. Three 
other Sioux chiefs, similarly dressed, are standing to 
American Horse's left. To the right of Buffalo Bill are 
the Sioux' old enemies, fovir Pawnee Scouts. ■*" American 
Horse was with the show from April, 1886, through Febru- 
ary, 1887, and visited the following cities: St. Louis, Da\'- 
ton. Wheeling, Cumberland, Hagerstown, Frederick Citv, 
Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Slalon 

.35. Ricker MSS., Tablet no. 36, pp. 

36. Events during the McGillycuddy tc 
in Olson, Red Cloud, pp. 264-285. 

37. Ibid., p. 271. 


38. ll)id., p. 27'). 

3<). I'Ji/.ibnh 1 . 1 ,<-(iii;ird. Buffalo Bill Knio of thr Old 11 Vv/ (Ncxv York: i'uhlish.-is, l')55), p. 2 11. 
■10. Joseph C. Ros.i .Mul Rohm M,n, Buffalo Bill aud His ]Vild ]\\sl 

(l.awR-iuc: UiHxrrsilv Press ol, 1989), p. 86. 



SPRING 1991 

Island.*' One can speculate that this tour surely reinforced 
American Horse's belief that the Sioux must accommo- 
date the White man's ways. 

During April, 1888, Congress passed the Sioux bill, 
which formalized the earlier Edmund's plan.*^ \^ always, 
a commission, the Pratt Commission, was appointed. 
Pratt and company went out to the agencies but, having 
no more luck than Edmund's Commission, recommended 
that the chiefs and headmen be brought to Washington. 
American Horse and other chiefs made the journey, but 
rejected the bill for three main reasons: 1) the price offered 
per acre was too low; 2) several of the provisions were 
unfulfilled promises of earlier treaties which needed to be 
first honored; and 3) there had been no survey and they 
wanted to be able to see the land to be ceded. 

A year later Congress reenacted the Sioux bill incor- 
porating most of the changes requested by the Indians and 
added a sweetener for the Red Cloud and Red Leaf bands. 
The Indians would be compensated at a rate of forty dol- 
lars a head for horses confiscated in 1876. To implement 
the bill Congress also appointed the Foster Commission 
which included a Sioux favorite. General Crook. 

Of the myriad commission meetings, this one which 
began on June 15 is without question the most interest- 
ing.*^ On June 18 the commissioners turned the floor over 
to the Indians. Red Cloud and several others talked against 
the treaty, but there was no unanimity in their objections. 
Some rehashed the old treaties. Some complained that the 
old treaties were not yet mature and therefore a new one 
was unnecessary. Some complained of half-breed voting 
rights. Only Little Wound objected to the land cession 
and he complained of the strictly optional provision of 
ownership by severalty. He did receive a round of applause 
for both these points. No one brought up the issue of the 
northern boundary where the bulk of the eight million 
acre land cession was to occur. Young Man Afraid of his 
Horses did bring up a boundary issue, but it was the loca- 
tion of the southern boundary! This boundary had been 
set in the treaty of 1868 and had not moved an inch, at 
least in the minds of the commission. 

The commissioners spent June 18 with the Cheyennes 
and on June 19 again held court with the Sioux. Red 
Cloud opened the meeting, and claiming to be indisposed, 

turned the floor over to American Horse. So began the 
greatest oratorical Indian performance of record. For three 
days American Horse held the floor. He was eloquent, 
persistent, humorous, friendly, and tough. Crook, in 
speaking of this performance in his autobiography, stated 
that American Horse "was too much for the Commis- 
sion. He was a better speaker than any of us."** Gover- 
nor Foster, after listening to a particularly long speech 
that was frequently interrupted by cheering, laughter, and 
applause said, 'T have been very pleased with the speech 
of American Horse. I am sure that if he had the educa- 
tion of a white man he would sit in the Great Council 
of the nation."*^ 

There has been much discussion as to whether Ameri- 
can Horse was speaking for or against the treaty. Care- 
ful textural analysis suggests he was doing neither. Rather, 
he was carefully going through the treaty, point by point, 
to obtain understanding, both for himself and his peo- 
ple. Several times during his presentation, he referred to 
himself as the mouthpiece for the tribe, and one can only 
assume that he presented, not only his own concerns, but 
also those tribal concerns he had heard in private coun- 
cils. To be sure, at some point during the meetings he 
decided to vote for the treaty and even became upset that 
more braves did not follow his lead. But it must be remem- 
bered that just a year previously, while in Washington, 
he said no to a very similar bill. 

For the most part American Horse restricted his dis- 
cussion to items directly connected to the bill. The one 
notable exception was the issue he dwelt on the most, the 
southern boundary, which he brought up no less than eight 
times! It mattered not that each time the commissioners 
emphatically stated that the boundary was fixed by the 
1868 treaty and therefore their hands were tied. The 
Indians believed the boundary to be ten to twenty miles 
farther south and to follow, more or less, the Niobrara 
River. To make his point American Horse used tes- 
timonials, personal recollections, restatements, requests 
to telegraph the president, and even biting humor. After 
being told that the lines of the survey were infallible, 
because they were fixed by the stars, American Horse 

My friend you speak of the instrument that white people have 
that is governed by certain stars or landmarks in the sky. 
In my opinion in that first mark they gave us, that star must 

41. Leonard, Buffalo Bill, pp. 24:^245. 

42. Event.s for 1888 and 1889 arc found in Olson, Red Cloud, pp. 
■MY.) -'Ml. 

\:'>. U.S., Congress, pp. l-2.'5.'-i. '\\\v discussion ol the Foster Com- 
mission is based on this document unless otherwise indicated. 

44. Martin F. Sdmiilt, cd., Gcnnal George Crook, His Aulobiogrnphy 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946), p. 286. 

45. U.S., Ccmgress, p. 91. 



have been removed or something, for it runs crooked and 
everything (pointing to a river boundary) [great laughter].*'' 

When this hne of inquiry led nowhere American 
Horse switched tactics. After a reading of the treaty by 
Foster, American Horse began his next speech by embrac- 
ing Crook and proclaiming his friendship. He also made 
an oblique reference to "a lady" who had given Foster 
"some sort of present to wear" and the subsequent adop- 
tion of Foster into the tribe, when he was given the name 
of "Young-Man-Proud-of-His-Tail." This brought about 
great cheering and American Horse once again launched 
into a long diatribe on the southern boundary. After 
rehashing many of his previous points, he realized the 
commissioners were growing weary and made the follow- 
ing statement: 

If we wished to monopohze you here altogether or wished 
to induce you to remain here, we would proceed in a differ- 
ent course. We have some good fat horses, and some nice- 
looking women, and we would ask you to ride out with them 
and entertain you in that way. [Great laughter, excepting 
General Warner who does not laugh.]*' 

American Horse brought up the northern boundary 
only once and that was not to discuss the loss of large acre- 
ages or choice lands, but to lobby for retention of the 
nearby badlands, for they served as a natural fence for 
their cattle. On the final day of talks several Indians spoke 
against the treaty, but only two, Little Wound and Man 
Afraid of his Horses, spoke about the land cession. Their 
objections were to the southern boundary and once again 
no one breathed a word about the northern boundary. 
One can only wonder if the main objection was not to 
the sale of the nine million acres to the north of Pine Ridge, 
land with which the Oglalas had little historical connec- 
tion, but rather to the loss of those few thousand acres 
laying between the Nebraska state line and the Niobrara 
River — land over which the Oglalas had roamed for a long 

American Horse was also very interested in the sever- 
alty option in the treaty. He requested that plots of eighty, 
160, and 320 acres be staked to illustrate the various pro- 
posed allotments. It was this issue, more than any other, 
that separated American Horse from his brethren. Ameri- 
can Horse stated the majority position on June 28 dur- 
ing the farewell ceremonies: 

The only thing my people are afraid of in this bill is that 
part of it regarding the taking of land in allotment. Let that 
be set aside for the present, and only consider the selling of 
the land. I understand this, that we by signing the bill are 
not compelled to take our land by allotment. Some of our 
people do not understand this, although you have explained 
it time and again.** 

That the Indians would be alarmed by this is perfectly 
understandable. Most were apprehensive of, it not down 
right hostile to, abandoning communal property owner- 
ship. Private property ownership was a very radical idea. 
American Horse had laid out his position seven days 
earlier during the last day of formal talks. He said, that 
while traveling with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, he 
had visited a headman who lived in the "land of the sun. " 
He asked the headman 

. . . what laws are there governing the way you take your 
land, and how big a piece of land do you take? And he told 
me a certain amount of acres, which I forget now, but I know 
it is far less than this bill offers us. Then I told him I was 
unable to form any idea of the size of land he told me by 
the acres, as I have never measured any land, and he took 
me out in the yard and he pointed to a fence corner, saying, 
there is the beginning of one corner; and he pointed to 
another corner, saying that is the length; and again pointed 
to another corner saying that is the width. And, my friends, 
the land was so small that I could stand in the center and 
throw a stone to every point you would ask me to outside 
of the land that was shown me. And I said, my friend, how 
is it that you have such a small piece of land? And he said, 
it is simply this: The Government offered our fathers cer- 
tain terms of taking the land and they all refused it, think- 
ing that what they knew was best for their future, and the 
consequence was that our future was decided by 
unscrupulous white men, who gave us only small portions 
of land like this that I am now showing you.*-^ 

Having made the general case for the ownership in 
severalty, American Horse added his personal reasons: 

. . . when I am laying on mv death-bed, if \ou tlo not deteat 
this bill, 1 will have the satisfaction of knowing thai 1 can 
leave a piece of land to my children, so that they will not 
have to say that for my foolishness I deprived them ot lands 
that they might ha\-e had, had I accepted the reasonable 
tt-rms that I lie gox eiiinuiit has offered us.'"' 

American Horse had been badly bitten 1)\- the bug 
of private property ownership, but he did ha\i- one dicix 
of concern. He was afraid ( 


U.S., Congress, p. 90. 
nal text. 

Tiic 1 

)ra( kcis are 

(onlained ii 

1 liicnrigi- 



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ingress, |: 


U.S., Congress, p. ')!. 

Tlu- L 

irac kcis arc 

oHilainrd n 

, ll,<-n,,gi- 



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Higress, |: 

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SPRING 1991 

... as soon as we take our lands in severalty, that the govern- 
ment will have them all in a string, as it were, like ropes 
leading from one to the other, and when we have these estab- 
lished the government will be pulling at each one of the 
strings; and pulling the money to him [meaning paying 
taxes]. 5' 

American Horse was not objecting to the payment of 
taxes per section, but, because Indians did not have any 
money, he feared the land would be confiscated for back 
taxes. This issue more than any other illustrates the gulf 
between the sophistication of American Horse and that 
of his colleagues. While most could not even accept the 
notion of private property, he was already concerned about 
its tax consequences. 

Lack of money was a sore point among the Indians 
and they complained of being deprived of a share of the 
agency payroll since all agency employees were non- 
Indian. American Horse took this issue a step further. 
He felt the government should allow for independent trad- 
ing posts owned and operated by Indians or half-breeds 
because, "every ten cents [will be spent] in that store of 
our own nation, and that ten cents will be kept in circu- 
lation among our own people and not be going somewhere 

American Horse and No Flesh were the only impor- 
tant Oglalas to sign the treaty and subsequent events fur- 
ther isolated this minority position. The problem was hun- 
ger to the point of starvation. For various reasons, mostly 
government mismanagement, their beef ration was 
halved. ^^ Consequently, two days after signing, Ameri- 
can Horse traveled to the Santee Agency to address the 

The first thing I wish to mention is like cutting our heads 
off . . . the commissioners told us that the beef or anything 
would not be touched or the treaty of 1868 would not be 
touched, but it seems to me that when we signed the treaty 
you struck us in the face by the commission in taking the 
beef away from us. There are a lot of my people who are 
ignorant, and they don't know much. They think it is the 
fault of signing the bill to cut the beef off.^* 

The next day American Horse added another cause 
of the hunger: 

When the commissioners were all out there [at Pine Ridge] 
the agent notified us and we all came to the agency, and came 
for weeks, and there was nobody out there to attend to our 
farms. Our oats and corn and wheat were all destroyed by 

the cattle, as the commission can tell you .... All we depend 
on now is the ration we get from the government, and now 
if it is taken away from us, 1 don't know what we will depend 
on when the spring comes." 

Two months later he went to Washington for the for- 
mal ratification of the new treaty. He again brought up 
the starvation issue, but to no avail. This did not bode 
well for American Horse or his people. The spring of 1890 
found the Indians in an agitated state. ^'^ This new radical- 
ism grew from the desperation of starvation, sickness, and 
death and was fueled by a belief in a Christ-like messiah 
who promised true believers a bounty of food, resurrec- 
tion of deceased relatives, and revival of the buffalo cul- 
ture. American Horse, Red Cloud, and other old line 
chiefs sent messengers to investigate the phenomena and 
dismissed it as bogus. But for large numbers of the Sioux, 
this messiah was their only hope. 

Belief in the messiah was manifested by participat- 
ing in a spirit dance, which was called by Whites the Ghost 
Dance. The Indians wore cloth shirts painted with Ghost 
Dance symbols (there was not time to make the elaborate 
quill and beaded buckskin garments traditionally worn 
in religious ceremonies) and danced in the fashion of the 
Sun Dance, but prolonged with a frenzied intensity. 

At Pine Ridge this agitation came to a head on 
November 17, 1890.^^ Agent D.F. Royer, just recently 
appointed, issued the monthly allotment of ninety-three 
scrawny steers to thousands of starving Indians. Each 
band's quota was sequentially released and the young 
braves were allowed to "hunt" the beeves. The animals 
were immediately consumed and this left no provisions 
until next month. Little, a prominent ghost dancer, used 
the excitement and meager rations as an opportunity to 
inflame the gathering. Royer, fearing for his life, ordered 
the Indian police to arrest Little. The police rushed out 
and were quickly surrounded by a mob of angry ghost 
dancers brandishing rifles, knives, and clubs. American 
Horse, despite his waning popularity and influence, 
pushed his way into the center of this melee and stood 
between the ghost dancers and the police. In this, his finest 
hour, American Horse confronted the ghost dancers with 
these words: 

51. U.S., Congress, p. 99. The brackets are contained in the origi- 
nal text. 

52. U.S., Congress, p. 100. 

5.3. Olson, Red Cloud, pp. 'd\9-?>2(). 
54. U.S., Congress, p. 222. 

55. U.S., Congress, p. 227. 

56. The events for 1890 are found in Olson, Red Cloud, pp. 320-332, 
unless otherwise noted. Also see Bureau of Ethnology, "The Ghost 
Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890," Fourteenth 
Annual Report (W ashington , D.C.: Government Printing Office, 
1896), pp. 839-841. 

57. The events for November 17, 1890, are found in Miller, Ghost 
Dance, pp. 129-131. 



.'K/yfefe; b'c-DMorAJy^'''^'^' '^f"" 



SPRING 1991 

A Sioux delegation to Washington in 1891. Top row (I to r) Zaphier, Hump, High Pipe, F(i\l 'riiiuuhr, Rev. Chas. Cook, and P. T. Johnson. Middle row 
(I to r) F.D. Lewis, He Dog, Spotted Horse, American Horse, Maj. Geo. Sword, Lewis Shangreau, and Bat Pouriea. Bottom row (I to r) High Hawk, Fire 
Lighting, Little Wound, Two-Strikes, Young Man Afraid Of His Horses, Spotted Elk, and Big Road. 

Stop! Think! What are you planning to do? Kill these men 
of your own race? Then what? Kill all these helpless white 
men, women and children. And then what? What will these 
brave words and brave deeds lead to in the end? How long 
could you hold out? Your country is surrounded by railroads. 
Thousands of white soldiers could be here within days. What 
ammunition have you? What provisions have you? What will 
become of your families? This is child's madness! Think my 
brothers, think! Let no Sioux shed the blood of a brother 

A moment later Jack Red Cloud jumped into the fray 
and thrust a cocked revolver into American Horse's face. 
Jack shouted, "This is the one who betrayed us! Here 
is the man who sold us out! Here is the one who brought 
on this trouble by selling our land to the whites! "^^ Ameri- 
can Horse called Jack's bluff with the ultimate indignity. 

He simply turned his back and walked away. There can 
be no doubt that the courage that once fired the young 
warrior at Fort Phil Kearny was still strong in his heart 
at Pine Ridge. 

Despite his voice of reason, American Horse did not 
escape the ravages of the Ghost Dance. To escape peril 
he and his family had to seek refuge at the agency dis- 
pensary until the Ghost Dance craze subsided. '''' During 
this absence his home was destroyed, ponies stolen, and 
cattle consumed. They were left with only a canvas tepee 
and the clothing they had with them.*^' Nevertheless, the 
position of American Horse was the only viable path dur- 
ing the uprising and his followers, who stayed near the 
agency, avoided the horror of Wounded Knee and the 

58. [bid., p. \'M). 
.59. Ibitl. 

()0. Ibid. 
()1. Hvd( 

p. i:51. 

A Siou.x Chr 

dc, p. 272. 



frustration of the futile resistance on White Clay Creek. 
This painful, but short-lived Ghost Dance, punctuated 
the end of the wrangling over the reservation system. 

Despite the poor treatment by his fellow Sioux, Ameri- 
can Horse made a pilgrimage to Washington on behalf 
of his people. He spoke eloquently of their sorrow and 
hunger and the appropriations were restored to the original 
issue, but the government was firmly in control. ^^ The 
Indians would now have to dance to the tune of the 
Department of Indian Affairs with little or no voice in its 

American Horse made his final trip to Washington 
in 1897.''^ The discussions were a rehash of old grievances, 
but he sounded a theme that had lain dormant for some 
time. The Sioux did not like the loss of the Black Hills 
and wanted them back. The conference was mostly win- 
dow dressing and the Indians returned home empty 
handed, but the issue of the Black Hills did not die and 
continues to fester to this day. 

In his last five years American Horse continued 
searching for bridges to the White culture. He frequently 
visited the home of Captain James H. Cook. The tree 
shaded banks of Cook's ranch offered many of the Sioux 
a vacation paradise in contrast to the desolation of Pine 
Ridge.'''' In 1906 American Horse, with his wife, daugh- 

ter, and friends traveled to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to be 
an attraction at Frontier Days.*'^ This was his last known 
public appearance. He died two years later at Pine Ridge 
on December 16, 1908. "^e 

The confrontation between a powerful culture and a 
weaker culture usually results in the eventual assimila- 
tion of the weaker culture. Resistance through blind adher- 
ance to old ways frequently accelerates the process because 
of the destructive forces unleashed by the powerful cul- 
ture. Adherence to the old ways was the path of Crazy 
Horse, Sitting Bull, and others. We remember these chiefs 
because of their valor in the face of overwhelming odds. 
Yet they ultimately did little, if anything, to preserve the 
Sioux culture. American Horse began his adult life on 
this same path, but as he gained prominence as an Oglala 
leader, he saw the futility of this approach. He realized 
that in order to survive the Sioux would have to change. 
Bravery is not the sole domain of the warrior, but it is 
also found in the thinker and visionary who advocates a 
new road, especially when it is an unpopular road. The 
last half of the nineteenth century was a very painful time 
for the Plains Indian. The pain certainly would have been 
much greater were it not for leaders like American Horse 
who had the courage to show their people a new direc- 

62. Olson, Red Cloud, pp. 333-334; David G. Phillips, "The Sioux 
Chiefs before the Secretary," Harpers Weekly, February 21, 1891, 
p. 142. 

63. Details of this trip are found in Olson, Red Cloud, p. 337. 

64. Cook, Fifty Years, p. 195; Olson, Red Cloud, p. 339. ALso note that 
a number of the Ricker interviews cited elsewhere were conducted 
at Cook's home. 

65. Ricker MSS., Tablet no. 35, pp. 34-35. 

66. "American Horse (Wasechun-tashunka)," Encyclopedia oj luoril- 
ler Biography (Glendalc, California: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1988), 
p. 22.^ 

67. There arc no known Indian opinions ol ihc Icidci ship role ol 
American Horse. However, in the Ri< kci MSS, 1 ,il>lcl im. 1(), 
pp. 14-15, is found tin- following teslinioniai wrilleii by Major 
General Nelson A. Miles on January 10, 1891, which i;cnerallv 

(an Horse is a greal Siuux CImcI, has heen a Iriciid (ilHic while 
pc<i|)lc,iii<l Id I he .government, lie has ,i -(hhI inlliieiur 
over Ins people, .iiid his wise managemeiii .iiul (oniicil n\ Ins pcdple 
has kepi ihein lo a greal exient U'vv Ikmii cnc ileineiil .mil .ip.iil 
Iroui Ihe hdslile elenienls." 

ELBERT D. BELISH, a native of Ranchcslcr, Wyoming, serves 
as the Sheridan College Coordinator for the Tongue River Com- 
munity Education Program and as a registered representative for 
Waddell & Reed Financial Services. He is active in community 
projects and is currently serving as committee chairman, planner. 
etc., for the Tongue River Co/nniiinity Recreation Project. He also 
was instrumental in the Tongue R/rer Elementary Playground. 
Belish holds a M.A. degree in American Studies from the I ^niver- 
Mty of W^yommg and is cuneully involved in the Tort Phil Kearny 
Research Pro/ed. If- has a variety of other iiiteiists nuiudiui^ ivritiuii 
poetry, palemitifogy, theater, niorie criticism, alpine skiing, and 
ecleelic reading. I le desenhes himself as a "housefather" ivho is 
htiildnig and maintaining a lioine and raisin^ tivo unreal teenagers. 
Raihael. //, and /cult, /:>. 


Documents Relating to the Fetterman Fight 

edited by John D. McDermott 

Recently discovered documents offer new insights into 
the motives and emotions of those who participated in the 
events of 125 years ago. The first is a letter written by 
William J. Fetterman to Dr. Charles Terry from Fort Phil 
Kearny dated November 26, 1866, less than a month 
before his death. The only other personal correspondence 
of the ill-fated captain known to exist is that reproduced 
on page 43 of this issue of Annals of Wyoming. Fetterman 
became Terry's friend while on recruiting service in 
Cleveland, Ohio, and wished the same experience for his 

Fort Phil Kearny 
via Fort Laramie 
November 26, 1866 

My dear Doctor 

Allow me to introduce my friend C apt Jackson of the 15th 
US Infantry, who has relieved me in the Recruiting Service in 
Cleveland. He has expressed the wish to make the acquaintance 
of your family, and so fresh in my memory of your Kindness to 
me while a sojourner in your beautiful city that it is a privilege 
I should wish every friend of mine to enjoy. Enroute here I fell 
in with Genl Terry, and had the pleasure of his company on the 
Boat from St Joseph to Omaha. I cannot begin to tell you how 
much I was pleased with him, a more elegant gentleman I have 
never met. My journey was a very long one, and had it not been 
for the politeness and hospitality of the officers at the different posts 
along the route would have been very tedious I am now very 
pleasantly domiciled in an excellent log house which my company 
hastened to build me on my arrival, and feel perfectly contented 
with the country, and the life I am to lead. 

The Indians are very hostile and barbarous, and annoy us in 
everyway they can. Yesterday with about 30 mounted men I chased 
a band of them who had run off some stock. Rode 40 miles and 
recovered all the cattle but five, which the Indians shot with arrows 
to prevent them from falling into our hands. I, with three other 
officers, while riding out to view the country a few days since, 
fell into an ambuscade of Indians who fired a volley at us. Our 
escape was a very narrow one. Returning with a few Infantrymen 
who happened to be near guarding some wood choppers, we scoured 
the woods but the Indians had decamped. We are afflicted with 
an incompetent commanding officer viz. Carrington , but shall be 
relieved of him in the re-organization, he going to the 1 8th and 

we becoming the 27th Infantry. We have four companies of Infantry 
and one of Cavalry at this post and are favored with the presence 
of four ladies. 

The locality of the post is pleasant being about 7000 feet above 
the sea. The atmosphere is very dry and is almost oppressively so 
to a new comer. The climate so far as we have experienced it is 
delightful. Today we have Spring like weather. The country is rough 
but abounds in game of every kind. Enroute from Laramie being 
mounted I had a very exciting Buffalo chase, and wounded three, 
but they are very tenacious of life and would not die. Our table 
though scarcely supplied with Eastern delicacies is always provided 
with game of some description. While chasing the Indians the other 
day we passed Buffalo, Elk, antelope, wolves and a large bear, 
but were to intent after the nobler game to pay them any attention. 
I trust that all in your family are well. The young ladies here doubtly 
returned from Detroit 'ere this and Miss Julia received the scold- 
ing she deserved for staying away so long. Please present my kind- 
est regards to each member of your family . I would also like that 
one of the ladies would remember me to Miss Woolsean. I was 
assist of her Kinsman General Wessells at Fort Kearney, who made 
my inquiries after her family. I would be very much pleased to 
hear from you. Truly your friend 

WmJ Fetterman^ 

On July 5, 1867, at Fort Phil Kearny, Captain 
Tenodor Ten Eyck gave testimony to the Special Com- 
mission appointed by the President to investigate the Fet- 
terman Disaster.- Sent by Colonel Carrington to find what 
happened to Fetterman and his command, he described 
his journey and what he found on the far side of Lodge 
Trail Ridge. 

1 . Letter from William J. Fetterman, Fort Phil Kearny, November 
26, 1866, to Dr. Charles Terry. The letter is reproduced here 
courtesy Everett D. Graff Collection, The Newberry Library, 
Chicago, Illinois. This letter was discovered by Susan Badger 
Doyle, who generously made it available for the study. 

2. Born on August 5, 1819, Ten Eyck began his military career on 
October 16, 1861 , as a corporal in the 12th Wisconsin Infantry. 
He received his commission in the regular army on February 19, 
1862, as a captain in the 18th Infantry. Ten Eyck retired from 
the service on January 1, 1871, dying in Chicago, Illinois, on 
February 27, 1905, in his eighty-fifth year. See Tenodor Ten Eyck 
Pension File 601-912, Records of the Veteran's Administration, 
Record Group 15, National Archives. 



At this time I received an order from Col. Carrington to take 
command of a detachment of about forty infantry and dismounted 
cavalry, and proceed as rapidly as possible to the scene of action, 
and join Col. Fetterman if possible. As soon as the detail was formed 
which occupied but very few minutes, I started, following the course 
which Col. Fetterman had taken crossing the creek at the same place, 
and marching up the road. Lieut. Matson at my request was allowed 
to accompany me, and Dr. Hines was likewise sent out by Col. 
Carrington. Several citizens joined my party as volunteers. 

My reason for taking the road was that I could accomplish 
the distance sooner, and with less fatigue to my men, there not being 
much snow on the road, the ascent being more gradual, and the 
ridges being intersected by several deep ravines, that were partially 
filled with snow. 

After proceeding about four miles I came upon the crest of a 
hill where the road descends into Peno Creek valley, and here I 
first came in sight to the Indians. This march occupied but little 
if any, over an hour. Up to the time we crossed the creek, we heard 
heavy firing apparently in volley, and after which very little firing 
was heard by me. 

From the point on the hill where I first came in sight of 
the Indians I could see a distance of several miles along the valley 
of Peno Creek. From this point the road descends for near half a 
mile abruptly, then a large gradual ascent for about a quarter of 
a mile, to the summit of a small hill from which the road follows 
a narrow ridge for about a mile, and then descends abruptly into 
the valley of Peno Creek. Upon both ends of this ridge are a 
number of large rocks lying above the surface and bends of the 

When I first came in sight of the Indians they were occupying 
the ridge, just described and extending a distance of a mile or more 
beyond the further point of the ridge. About one hundred mounted, 
appeared congregated about the pile of rocks on the ridge nearest 
to my position. Many were passing backwards and forwards on 
the road, but no indications of a fight going on. 

I could discern none of Col. Fetterman 's party. I thought that 
they might be surrounded near the further point at which I could 
see Indians, or that they might have retreated to the West and joined 
the wood party at the pinery. I dispatched a mounted courier to 
the fort asking the Commanding Officer for reinforcements and 
artillery. I then marched my men along the crest of the ridge in 
a westerly direction by which I could gradually approach the nearest 
point of rocks without losing my commanding position on the higher 
hills. As I advanced I observed that the group of Indians near the 
rocks named, became much less as I approached, so thai when I 
arrived within about .\i.\ hundred yards of the rocks, their hut Jour 
Indians remaining at that point. 

I was then able to discover a large niunbrr oj naked bodies 
lying there. 

I then fired a few shots at the four Indians reinannng, who 

retire precipitately and joined the main body, who were slowly retir- 
ing along the road. 

About this time I was joined by about forty employees of the 
Quartermaster Department with three wagons and an Ambulance, 
who I afterwards ascertained were sent from the Garrison before 
my courier arrived. 

The Indians at this time to all appearance were forming a 
line of battle on the high hills across the valley about two miles 
distant. . . . 

I cannot state the exact number lying at that point as I did 
not count them, but I think more than sixty. In their appearance 
they were all stripped naked, scalped, shot full of arrows, and hor- 
ribly mutilated otherwise, some with their skulls smashed in, throats 
cut of others, thighs ripped open, apparently with knives. Some 
with their ears cut off, some with their bowels hanging out, from 
being cut through the abdomen, and a few with their bodies charred 
from burning, and some with their noses cut off. 

I was able to recognize several whom I was not intimately 
acquainted, and among them Capt. F.H. Brown. 

I brought in, I think, forty seven bodies all the wagons could 
conveniently carry. '' 

Author of the third document is George Webber, who 
served in Company C of the Second BattaHon of the 18th 
Infantry. In his account, which appeared in the National 
Tribune on October 21, 1897, Webber tells of the events 
immediately following the Fetterman Fight. 

77?^ rescue of the bodies of Fetterman 's command, and the inci- 
dents of the day at Fort Phil Kearny immediately after the mas- 
sacre, are worthy of a story themselves. With the next morning came 
a meeting of officers, with universal disinclination, generally 
expressed, to venture a search for the dead. The safety of any small 
party seemed doubtful, and the post itself might be imperiled by 
a large draft upon the garrison. 

But the Colonel had made up his mind, and freely expressed 
his purpose, not to let the Indians have the conviction that the dead 
could not be brought in. ('apt. Ten Eyck, Lieut. Matson. and 
Dr. Oidd went with the party. Long after dark they left. The pickets 
which ivere distributed on the line of march indicated their progress, 
and showed that neither the fori nor the i/elaehment could be threat- 
ened with such connection oJ signals as would advise both, and 
.secure co-operation. 

:5. 'IVsdmoiivorCaplain Tc-ncHlorlrn I'.vrk, ■• R.touIs ol tlu- Spe- 
cial Cninnussiuii (o iiursli-atr llir IrilcniKm Massarrr aiul ihr 
Slalr (.1 hulian Allans, i;!(>7," olilu' l^uivau ot liulian 
AlTairs, Rc( or.l (iioup Tf), N.uional .-s. l'.xlul)it A. pp. 



SPRING 1991 

Near midnight the wagon and command returned with the 
bodies, slowly passing to the hospital and other buildings made 
ready for their reception. A careful roll-call of the garrison was 
had, and the body of every missing man identified. 

Wheatly and Fisher, the frontiersmen, had been discovered near 
a pile of rocks, surrounded by cartridge-shells, proving that their 
Henry rifles had done good service. All the bodies had lain along 
or near a narrow divide, over which the road ran, and to which, 
no doubt, the assailed party had retreated when overwhelming num- 
bers bore down upon them. 

Fetterman and Brown had been found at the point nearest the 
fort. . . . Capt. Brown 's repeated dashes, and especially his suc- 
cesses on Sept. 23, had inspired him with perfect recklessness in 
pursuit of Indians. On the night before the massacre he had declared 
that he must have one scalp before leaving for Laramie, wither he 
had been ordered. He had inspired Fetterman, who had been but 
a short time in the country, and already had great contempt for 
our adversaries, with the same mad determination to pursue the 
redskins whenever they could regardless of numbers. Together they 
had planned the expedition of a week's time to Tongue River Val- 

ley, with a fixed party of 90 citizens and soldiers, to destroy the 
Indian village and clear out all enemies. Disapproval of the plan 
did not change their belief in its feasibility and wisdom; but now 
were 80 officers and men, among them the veterans of a long, war, 
utterly destroyed in their hands, only six or seven miles on the route 
to the same Tongue River Valley. 

The dead were deposited in the spare ward of the hospital, 
two hospital tents and double cabin. Details from each company 
assisted in their care and identification. Many gave their best uni- 
forms to clothe decently their comrades, and the good traits of the 
soldier were touchingly discussed as mutilated fragments were care- 
fully handled, arrows drawn or cut out and the remains composed 
for the burial. A long line of pine cases, duly numbered, was 
arranged by companies along the officers ' street near the hospital, 
and as each was placed in its plain receptacle the number and name 
was taken for the future reference of friends. 

The detail to dig a grave for its great entombment was well 
armed and accompanied by a guard, but so intense was the cold 
that constant relays were required. Over the great pit, fifty feet long 
and seven feet deep, amound was raised. Then the ceremonies were 


0: '®^J^,> rfM^ 


-^^* l»*^ '^i 

On July 3, 1908, the monument at the FelU-rman Fiij^lit silr was dcdicalrd. Grrirral Cnrrins^tnti, in a spree h wliuit laslcd llinr-quarters of an tiour, defended Ins 
actions on December 21 , J866. 





After the dedication at the uioniuinnl, the crowd traveled to the site of Fort Phil Kearny for a flag-raising ceremony. Carrington, Mrs. Frances Grummond Carrington, 
William Gibson, a member of the garrison at the fort at the time of the Fetterman Fight, S.S. Peters, the only survivor of the Crazy Woman Fight, and Wyoming 
Congressman Frank W. Mondell all spoke. (I to r) Bugler Pabloski, Lieutenant Wheeler, William Daley (he raised the first flag over Fort Phil Kearny), General 
Carrington, William Gibson, Frances Grummond Carrington, J.B. Stivcn, and S.S: Peters. Last man is unidentified. 

performed. From the very night of Dec. 21 the Winter became 
unmitigated in its severity, requiring guards to be changed at least 
half-hourly, preventing out-of-door inspection and driving officers, 
privates and women to beaver, buffalo or wolf skins for protection 
from the cold. The relief, as they hastened to their regular distri- 
bution, presented no bad idea of Lapland or Siberian life. The 
tastes, workmanship and capital of the wearers were variously illus- 
trated in their personal wardrobes. 

The holidays were sad as they were cold. Lights were bunted 
in all quarters, and one non-commissioned officer was always on 
duty in each building so that in case of alarm there could not be 
an instant's delay in the use of the whole command. Each com- 
pany knew its place and the distribution of the loopholes. The gun- 
ners slept in tents near their guns and all things were ready for 
attack. The constant and drifting snow soon lifted itself above the flank oflhc sUnkctdr, and when a Irnich /() frrl wide was 
cleared the next .snow loould fU il. 

The whole mrrison shared the I'tixun. (fiarndcs, hfilidii.x, 

the usual muster evening's levee at the Colonel's and all the holi- 
day reunions were dropped as unseasonable and almost unholy. 
It was truly a depressing period. 

The massacre proved the wisdom of a settled policy not to 
precipitate or undertake a general war while there was but a hand- 
ful of men at the post and the army had not yet received such increase 
as could prouiisf any considerable support. Kind Providence spared 
many, and the line of mad opened in the Siunnier of 1(?66 was 
inairitatned, other regiments /taring strengthened the garrison.'^ 

Indian acfoimis of (he l'\iti'rnian Im^IiI arc iaii\ and 
lliosc known (o most wnx- rec-ordcd durini^ llir cavW twcn- 
(iilli (rnlniA 1)\ (ic-oroo Bird GrinncU and jndor VA\ S. 
Ri{ krr and in lakT \rais hv Stanley \cslal. Tlic tollow- 

■1. Cc 

iIht 'Jl. i;!')7, ,,, :;, 

V\. K, 

.\'at tonal rnbiinc. 



SPRING 1991 

ing account is one told to Mitch Boyer by a Sioux par- 
ticipant a few months after the battle. Boyer, a scout, 
repeated the story to the Special Investigating Commis- 
sion July 27, 1867.5 

On my way to Fort C. F. Smith last Spring, a Sioux Indian 
came into my camp on the Little Horn River, remained with me 
that day and night, and the next day, and told me all about the 
massacre. He said that there were 1800 Indians engaged in it, 
and that the great majority of the Indians were Sioux that there 
were some Arrapahoes and Cheyennes engaged in it. He also stated 
that there were eight Indians killed on the battle ground, and about 
fifty wounded, and twenty-two of the wounded afterwards died 
of their wounds. There were two Sioux Chiefs killed, ' 'Iron Gog- 
gles" and "Lone Bear, ' ' belonging to the Ogalalla band of Sioux 
and one Cheyenne Chief ' 'Bull Head" was killed. He also stated 
that the Indians who came to the post and attacked the wood train, 
drew the soldiers out on the ridge road, and a large number of Indians 
lay concealed in the ravines on either side of the road, and then 
the soldiers got where they wanted them, the concealed Indians sur- 
rounded them and killed them all. He also said that the soldiers 
fought bravely but huddling together it gave the Indians a better 
opportunity to kill them, than if they had scattered about. He said 
that the soldiers' ammunition did not give out, but they fired to 
the last. He said the Indians took all the ammunition the soldiers 
had left but some soldiers had no ammunition left. . . . 

[The principal chiefs were] Red Cloud, Iron Goggle and Lone 
Bear of the Ogalallah band. Pretty Bull of the Menieconja band, 
and Red Horn of the Unk Papas or Missouri Sioux. There were 
some Breulah Sioux, young warriors who were fighting under the 
Chiefs. There were about 150 warriors of Cheyennes, under the 

leadership of Bull Head who was killed. There were about 60 
Arrapahoes without any Chief of their nation, but were fighting 
under the Sioux. ... 

/ asked him why the Indians killed these soldiers. He said 
that the principal reason was that the whites were building Forts 
in this country and traveling this road driving off their game, and 
if they allowed it to go on, in two years they would not have any 
thing for their children to eat. Another reason was the principal 
Chief of the Missouri Sioux had died just before the massacre, and 
the bands had gotten together and determined to avenge his death. 
The chief's name was White Swan who died a natural death on 
the Powder River. . . . 

He stated that there were 1800 f Indians] on the ground but 
only half of them engaged in the fight. That the fight did not last 
very long, about one hour. That some of the soldiers were a mile 
in advance of others, and when the Indians rose up from the ravines 
the advance soldiers were killed in retreating to the main body and 
that the main body huddling together were killed as before stated. ^ 

Twenty-eight years old, Mitch Boyer was a mi.xed-blood Sioux, 
who had hved in the mountains since 1849, trading" with the 
Oglalas, Shoshoni, Bannocks, and Crows. In 1876 Boyer was a 
scout for Custer, perishing with his commander at the Little 
Bighorn. His remains were found at Custer Battlefield during 
archaeological investigation in 1984. See John M. Carroll, ed.. 
They Rode With Custer (Mattituck, New York: J. M. Carroll & Com- 
pany, 1987), p. 16; Douglas D. Scott, et. al.. Archaeological Per- 
spective on the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Norman: University of Okla- 
homa Press, 1989), p. 80. 

Testimony of Michael Boyer, "Records of the Special Commis- 
sion to Investigate the Fetterman Massacre and the State of Indian 
Affairs, 1867," Exhibit F, pp. 3-4. 



Without Evidence: The Rape of Justice in Wyoming. Byjeane 
S. Wagner. Cheyenne, Wyoming: Pioneer Printing, 
1989. Illustrated, iii and 201 pp. Paper $10.95. 

"Doc": The Rape of the Town of Lovell ByJackOlsen. New 
York: Atheneum, 1989. 479 pp. Cloth $19.95. Paper 

After Dr. John Story of Lovell was convicted in 1985 
of raping several of his female patients, his trial emerged 
as more than a mere act of criminal wrongdoing. Sensa- 
tionalized and highly publicized in media circles, the facts 
behind the case have led people to ponder larger ques- 
tions of justice and medical ethics, while in some private 
circles the trial itself remains unresolved. Because of this 
heightened publicity, reporting the Story case becomes 
far from a simple task. Two books published in 1989, 
"Doc": The Rape of the Town o/Loi^^// by Jack Olsen, and 
Without Evidence: The Rape of Justice in Wyoming by Jeane 
S. Wagner, tackle this complicated case, but present differ- 
ent viewpoints based largely on oral history. 

Olsen and Wagner attempt to recreate and understand 
the Story trial. From the start the reader is made aware 
of the authors' feelings and assumptions, with Olsen 
upholding Dr. Story's conviction and Wagner claiming 
his innocence. Both accounts are hardly marks of histor- 
ical scholarship, but neither are they amateur attempts. 
The authors have studied the case and prepared their argu- 
ments accordingly. Olsen's approach is a combination of 
psychology and literature. He accepts the facts of the case 
as true and uses psychoanalysis and plausible amounts 
of fiction to enliven the drama. Wagner's style is jour- 
nalistic. She believes the public records cannot be taken 
at face value and argues in a straightforward manner that 
the Story incident is fraught with legal and ethical 

Whether people accept one book or the other, the two 
books together will become part of the historiographical 
record. As a result, both books together raise a difficuU, 
yet fundamental question of historical evidence: how will 
historians be able to verify Olsen or Wagner? Except for 
references in the texts, the lack of footnotes and bibliog- 
raphies makes it difficult to ascertain where the authors 
obtained their information. Nonetheless, Olsen and 
Wagner want the reader to accept their own investiga- 
tive methods. In some instances they often bonow liom 
the same source but loi' dilleicnt purposes. l'\)r example, 

tacit acknowledgement is given to how the Dr. Story case 
was seen on "60 Minutes" and "The Oprah Winfrey 
Show," but only selective portions of these television pro- 
grams were used. Wagner does point out that in "Oprah" 
and a Ladies Home Journal article the issues of guilt and 
rape were already assumed from the start. 

It is obvious that oral history plays a tangential infor- 
mational role, since each book is based on legal testimony, 
newspaper interviews, and, most important, interviews 
conducted by the authors. Olsen acknowledges nearly one 
hundred interviews during a two year span. He writes: 
"No author ever received more enthusiastic cooperation 
on both sides of an issue, or met advocates who were more 
honestly convinced of the righteousness of their position." 
Wagner, too, credits "conversations carefully docu- 
mented." While court and police records, stories, and 
media reports are publicly available, the authors' inter- 
views themselves are not. As one compares both books, 
the context of these interviews becomes crucial in order 
to critique Olsen and Wagner. What questions were 
asked? How prepared were the authors? Who was inter- 
viewed and who was not? How did the authors deal with 
inconsistencies? How well were the interviewees able to 
observe and report on events? How did the interviewees 
personalities and attitudes affect their statements? Were 
both writers asking the same questions? Without the inter- 
views themselves, historians are left to wonder about the 
authors' merits and abilities. 

While Olsen and Wagner are more concerned with 
the structure and presentation of thematic material than 
with outside evaluation of their evidence, the historian 
must be aware of how the evidence, even in the form of 
oral history, is being used. As oral history becomes 
accepted as a valid informational tool, its implications as 
a historical tool merit greater concern. Oral history guide- 
lines published by the American Historical Association 
in 1989 and the Oral History Association in 1990 advo- 
cate ethical and objective practices and access to inter- 
views lor future use. (^nee these principles gain wider 
acce|)tance, oral history will no longer be considered \)\\- 
vate, but historical property. Onl\- a (iualitali\e assess- 
ment of Olsen's and Wagner's interxiews will \erit\- the 
context of their arguments. 

(;.1A7. r. tlAl.l.HERG 

U'yo/ni/ig Stale Airhivcs 



Wiley 's Dream of Empire: The Wiley Irrigation Project. Byjean- 
nie Cook. Cody, Wyoming: Yellowstone Printing and 
Publishing, 1990. Illustrated. Index. Bibliography. 
Maps, iv and 114 pp. Cloth $27.50. Paper $16.70. 

The Big Horn Basin receives between five and six 
inches of rain annually, making it one of the driest regions 
in the United States. Yet, Americans were determined 
to establish White settlements there, like elsewhere in the 
West, despite the obvious desert conditions. Irrigation was 
to be the answer to the development. William F. Cody 
attempted it with his Shoshone Land and Irrigation Com- 
pany as did a group of Mormons and their Big Horn Basin 
Colonization Company. A third attempt was made by 
Solon Wiley, the subject of Jeannie Cook's book. Wiley's 
"Dream of Empire" was a verdant, populated Big Horn 
Basin, made possible by his plan to irrigate a large tract 
of land extending from Cody east to present day Grey- 

Wiley, an experienced and successful hydraulic 
engineer from Omaha, Nebraska, formed the Big Horn 
Basin Development Company June 1, 1895, in Newcas- 
tle, Wyoming. Making financial use of the Carey Desert 
Land Act of 1894, and later the Newlands Act of 1902, 
Wiley first filed with the state for a land segregation cover- 
ing the area already known as "the Bench." He completed 
this project and it was considerably successful, resulting 
in the farming community of Germania, named for Ger- 
man settlers. Wiley furthered his irrigation efforts by 
attempting to build another canal, known as the Wiley 
Ditch, and another community, also named for himself. 
The ill-fated Wiley Ditch, though, met with engineering 
difficulties, which included a mathematical error in lay- 
ing out the ditch. Wiley's problems were exacerbated by 
the 1907 recession, slowing up investors when he desper- 
ately needed to raise more capital. The company was 
forced into receivership in October, 1908. Wiley gambled 
heavily in the development of the Big Horn Basin and 
even lost his personal fortune. 

This is not a story of failure despite the doom of the 
Wiley Ditch and townsite. The Wiley Irrigation Project 
was the largest irrigation project, public or private, in the 
United States at the lime. Wiley's company injected 
$600,000 into the area economy and brought in many set- 
tlers. He was important to the area's agricultural and eco- 
nomic development. The success of the Germania settle- 
ment, later renamed l^'.mblem during World War I due 

to strong anti-German sentiments, can be attributed to 
the irrigation made possible by the Big Horn Basin 
Development Company. 

This book is more than a detailed discussion of the 
irrigation efforts in the Big Horn Basin. The author states 
that she "attempted to set the stage for the development 
and settlement of the Wiley Project in Northwest Wyo- 
ming at the turn of the century, and weave it back into 
the history of the area" (p. iii). She succeeded well at her 
goal. This work is a wonderful account of early White set- 
tlement in this area specifically, and the West in general. 
One is reminded of the desperate attempts by Whites to 
populate the West, despite the harsh elements. It is also 
a marvelous collection of reminiscences of life for the early 
White settlers, from various viewpoints. Accounts by men, 
women, and children are included, creating an interest- 
ing recollection of this period of Wyoming history. The 
book is further enhanced by the impressive and large col- 
lection of photographs of the key figures of the period and 
work undertaken in the area. 

Jeannie Cook is the granddaughter of W.B. Edwards 
who went to Cody in 1908 to work for Solon Wiley and 
settled in Germania in 1910 after the Wiley Ditch failed. 
Cook was born in Greybull and raised on the Edwards 
family farm, where she grew up hearing stories about 
Wiley and his irrigation efforts. Edwards collected a large 
amount of materials about the Wiley project and Cook 
made good use of this collection in the book, drawing heav- 
ily on his original photographs, maps, and documents. 
She also depended on other area diaries, letters, memoirs, 
and interviews, enabling her to recreate an interesting 
piece of western history. 

Cook intended to write just a local history, but my 
only disappointment with the book is not knowing how 
the Wiley project compared to other irrigation efforts in 
the West around the turn of the century. Her study would 
have more historical significance if she had carried her 
study further to include such a discussion. It is valuable 
now, though, to the historian of future studies of irriga- 
tion in the West as a detailed case study. It is also a valu- 
able history for social historians, recreating daily life in 
the West of the early White settlers. 

The book reads well and Cook seems to be fairly objec- 
tive, despite her closeness to the events and people. 


Cora, Wyoming 



Written in Water: The Life of Benjamin Harrison Eaton. 
By Jane E. and Lee G. Norris. Athens, Ohio: Swal- 
low Press (Ohio University Press), 1990. Illustrated. 
Index. Appendix. Bibliography. 294 pp. Cloth. 

Since 1859, the search for gold has lured thousands 
of people to Colorado and has captured the attention of 
dozens of historians who have examined this historical epi- 
sode. Unfortunately, the equally important agricultural 
activities on the state's eastern plains have received far 
less scrutiny. In their book, Written in Water: The Lfe of 
Benjamin Harrison Eaton, Jane E. and Lee G. Norris 
examine the significant contributions of this pioneer to 
the development of irrigation and farming in the Gree- 
ley area. 

In a casually-written and readable style, the authors 
trace Eaton's early years in Ohio and his later migration 
as a young man to Iowa, where he purchased several acres 
of land from bankrupt farmers during the 1857 Panic. 
Leaving the farm under his brother's management, Eaton 
joined the 1859 gold rush to the Cherry Creek area of 
Colorado, only to share in the disappointment that thou- 
sands of other goldseekers experienced in finding mostly 
rumors and little of the precious metal. He and Jim Hill, 
who became a lifelong friend, wandered through much 
of Colorado prospecting for gold before stopping tem- 
porarily to work for Lucien Maxwell on his large farm 
and ranch south of Raton Pass in New Mexico. After 
briefly serving m that territory's Union Army regiment 
under the command of Kit Carson, Eaton and Hill 
returned to northeastern Colorado in 1864 to claim some 
land along the Cache La Poudre River to begin a farm 
and a ranch. 

As one of the area's first White settlers, Eaton played 
a pivotal role in its economic and political evolution. In 
addition to leading one of the first longhorn cattle herds 
onto the region's grasslands, he built a small irrigation 
project based upon his experiences while working on the 
Maxwell farm, which employed the centuries-old Hispanic 
watering technology. Within a few years, Eaton, his 
second wife, and his son from his first marriage had suc- 
cessfully initiated an agricultural operation which served 
as a model for later arrivals. 

With the assistance of Eaton, Nathan Meeker and 
other members of the Union Colony Corporation selected 
the confluence of the Cache La Poudre and the South 
Platte rivers to build the town of Greeley in 1870. Offer- 
ing niorjil support and lc( Imit a! advice about liiiniing and 
irrigation, Eaton helped tlie reccnl selllers lioni (lie Mid- 
west and New York survive tlie initial years ol dnsl ;ni(l 

hardships in the arid West. Most importantly, he assisted 
in building a canal that irrigated the dry benchlands 
around Greeley, thereby laying the foundation for an 
agricultural economy and securing the survival of the com- 

During the next thirty years Eaton financed the con- 
struction of several irrigation projects in this region of 
Colorado, playing a determining role in transforming dry 
land into one of the country's richest farming areas. In 
the process, he made several other contributions, such 
as instigating the creation of the communities of Eaton 
and Windsor, constructing Denver's first major irriga- 
tion project, encouraging the creation of a local sugar 
beet industry, and raising money for Greeley's normal 
school, which later became the University of Northern 

Eaton's leading role in the area's economic develop- 
ment enhanced his political career. After serving as a 
justice of the peace and on the school board and the county 
commission, he was elected to the territorial legislature. 
A deeply divided Republican party nominated Eaton 
for governor in 1884. He won the election and served 
for two years before retiring from politics. He continued 
to promote irrigation and agriculture until his death in 

In writing this interesting biography, Jane and Lee 
Norris traveled to several places to gather information and 
to examine the physical legacies of Eaton's life. By tak- 
ing a large body of information from secondary sources 
and some archival materials and shaping it into this 
account, the authors have contributed to a better under- 
standing of how agricultural settlements developed along 
the Cache La Poudre and the South Platte rivers north- 
east of Denver. 

While Written in Water is enjoyable to read and reflects 
the authors' dedication in researching their subject, a few 
problems limit its effectiveness as an historical work. The 
absence of footnotes makes it impossible to corroborate 
details and conclusions. Wliile this creates problems for 
most historical studies, it is especially troublesome in this 
biography, for the authors often describe Eaton's actions 
and motives in romantic, highK idc-alistic terms. Since 
the bibliograpiu' contains onl\ a l'(.'\\ priniarx' sources and 
no (haries, (here is hllli- to substantiate these iud'^incnls. 
thus croc hng inuc h ol' the- hook's c i\'(hhihl\ . In at K Hi ion, 
the authois' (k'scri|)lions of Anuaii an inthans is highl\- 
elhno( c-nliic and onldalt'd. 

Ahhongh ihe authors pio\ ide some e\lensi\e haek- 

lound mlonnalion aboul ihi- force 
illuenced l'',alon"s Hie, llu-\ .ixoii 

Ul |H' 



SPRING 1991 

difficult issues. For instance, Eaton owned a large ranch 
in the northeastern part of the state where illegal fencing 
was a common practice, yet the authors never completely 
examine his stance on this issue of whether he participated 
in this activity, even though Congress vigorously debated 
it during his gubernatorial years. They take a similar 
approach with regard to irrigation when they fail to pro- 
vide any analysis of the social, political, and environmental 
effects of the extensive watering projects that Eaton 
financed. The authors also gloss over the initial resent- 
ment of several cattlemen to the Union Colonists' farms 
and the opposition of many Greeley residents to the con- 
sequences of a growing sugar beet industry — pollution 
from the sugar factories and the arrival of German- 
Russian immigrants. 

However, anyone interested in an initial understand- 
ing of Benjamin Eaton and the late nineteenth century 
development of the Greeley area will benefit from read- 
ing Written in Water. The authors have successfully proven 
that Eaton is a significant historical figure, but another, 
more historically rigorous account must be written to 
determine his place in history. 


Wyoming Council for the Hu7nanities 

Casper Centennial, 1889-1989: Natrona County, Wyoming, 
1890-1990: Featuring Also: Geological Record, Prehistoric 
Man, First Settlers. By Irving Garbutt and Chuck Mor- 
rison. Dallas, Texas, Curtis Media Corporation, 
1990. Illustrated. Index, viii and 388 pp. Cloth 

Irving Garbutt and Chuck Morrison have put together 
a large and complex account of the history of Casper and 
Natrona County, Wyoming. Their book, vaguely reminis- 
cent of Alfred J. Mokler's History of Natrona County, Wyo- 
ming (published in 1923), reflects in its content, writing 
styles, and format, the journalistic backgrounds of Gar- 
butt and Morrison. Dividing the volume into five 
sections — topical, family, business, photographic, and 
index — the editors have compiled a collection of six 
hundred episodic articles that range in content from the 
geologic formation of Natrona County's land mass to the 
current real estate situation in the county. Each short arti- 
cle is signed by its author, with Garbutt being the most 
prolific contributor. 

Casper Centennial has a number of strengths as an 
historical account. It contains informative and often spell- 

binding articles by a variety of Natrona County residents. 
Morrison's story about discovering the site of Robert Stu- 
art's cabin (p. 21) and Betty Evenson's reminiscence about 
Hiland (pp. 108-109) are two examples of the finest and 
most fascinating writings in the book, as is Garbutt's 
detailing the careers of newspaper owner J. E. Hanway 
(pp. 76-78) and scrap-iron dealer Fred Goodstein (pp. 
53-54). There are nearly five hundred family and busi- 
ness histories and eight hundred photographs, maps, and 
drawings, and these add considerably to the book's abil- 
ity to cover many important events and personalities. The 
journalistic style so prevalent in the majority of the text 
reads easily and clearly and imparts a feeling of nostalgic 

Casper Centennial is not without its flaws, however. The 
subjects included in the topical section lack a cohesive- 
ness that would otherwise give the various topics a 
thematic unity. This problem makes it difficult for the 
reader to develop a sense of relatedness from the book's 
myriad tales. Also, the absence of a bibliography and the 
casual way of citing sources (whenever sources are cited) 
limit the book's usefulness as a verifiable accurate resource 
about Natrona County's past. Another dilemma is that 
in some instances the episodes provide too few details to 
satisfy a reader's desire to know the particulars of an event 
such as the murder of Barbara Alexander (p. 366). Gar- 
butt and Morrison tantalize the reader with several grisly 
photographs, but tell very little about the outcome or sig- 
nificance of this incident. In other cases conclusions drawn 
in a story give an unreal sense of sentimentality. During 
a discussion of the existence of the Ku Klux Klan in 
Casper during the 1920s, for example, Garbutt portrayed 
the Klan as a frail organization easily eliminated because 
of a boycott of Klan members' businesses (p. 77). This 
explanation for the KKK's demise in Casper ignores a 
complexity of issues relating to the growth and eradica- 
tion of the racist group in the Rocky Mountain West dur- 
ing that era. 

Despite these faults the book should not be dismissed 
as an amateur's attempt to write local history. Garbutt 
and Morrison have been around Casper too long to be 
taken lightly. They are highly skilled journalists and have 
witnessed much of Casper's history for the past fifty years 
or more. Their ability to know interesting and influen- 
tial people testifies to their reportorial abilities and gives 
their book a very broad base. Above all, Casper Centennial 
is an honest work created by observant people who have 
seen their communities weather all sorts of successes and 
failures such as blizzards, oil booms, cattle wars, depres- 
sions, bootlegging rings, and the creation of a first rate 



college. The book deserves a place on anyone's shelf where 
the history of Wyoming and its counties and communi- 
ties are found. 


Salt Lake City, Utah 

Atlas of American Indian Affairs. By Francis Paul Prucha. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Maps. 
Index. Notes and References. 191 pp. Cloth $47.50. 

With a string of books and articles culminating in pub- 
lication of The Great Father: The United States Government and 
the American Indians (2 vols., University of Nebraska Press, 
1984), Father Prucha is probably the leading scholar of 
the history of United States Indian policy. Some ethno- 
historians (the present reviewer included) have complained 
that his work is heavy on policy and light in its attention 
to Indians, but none question the solidity of his research, 
the quality of his writing, or his stature in the field. 

Prucha has now applied his deep knowledge of Ameri- 
can Indian affairs to producing an atlas which will serve 
as a valuable reference work for historians in both their 
research and their teaching. The maps not only provide 
locations of Indian tribes and reservation communities, 
but also incorporate statistical data in graphics and 
diagrammatic insets. 

Three maps in chapter one outline tribal and culture 
areas. Chapter two maps the size and distribution of 
American Indian population according to United States 
census figures from 1890 to 1980, reflecting population 
shifts during the last century and illustrating the growth 
of urban Indian populations. A collection of maps depict- 
ing land cessions shows the piecemeal erosion of the Indian 
territorial base, graphically dispelling the notion that the 
American frontier constituted a steadily advancing "line" 
of settlement. Case study maps portray land cessions by 
the "Five Civilized Tribes," the Potawatomi, Sauk and 
Fox, Crow, Blackfeet, Ute, and Teton Sioux. The chap- 
ter on Indian reservations includes tiny communities as 
well as the larger and better-known reservations, and pro- 
vides populations breakdowns. 

Another set of maps shows government trading 
houses, Indian agencies, BIA offices, government Indian 
schools, hospitals, and health facilities. Separate portfo- 
lios detail the situations in Oklalioiiia (Indian Tenitory) 
and Alaska. One of the longer (liaptcrs i-ellcc (s Prudia's 
long-standing interest in the army and the Indian front- 
ier. Prucha pinpoints the location ol' United Stales nnli- 
tary {)()sts from 1789 to 1895 on seven base nia[)s from 

Erwin Raisz' Landforms of the United States . Thirteen other 
maps plot distributions of regular army troops. A mis- 
cellaneous collection shows battles and forts, the emigra- 
tion and relocation of the southern tribes, and the evolu- 
tion of the Navajo and Hopi reservations. A final portfolio 
presents a dozen of the maps produced by cartographer 
Rafael D. Palacios for Ralph K. Andrist's The Long Death: 
The Last Days of the Plains Indians (Macmillan, 1964), and 
depicts military encounters with the Indians in the post- 
Civil War west. 

Unlike Helen Tanner's /l/Za^ of Great Lakes Indian His- 
tory (University of Oklahoma Press, 1987) or the epic and 
beautiful Historical Atlas of Canada (3 vols., University of 
Toronto Press, 1987 — ), this atlas has no color, no illustra- 
tions, no eye-catching features. Prucha's purpose is to con- 
vey information. His maps are not overloaded, and their 
black and white clarity and size, make them ideal for re- 
producing for classroom use. The maps are supported by 
endnotes and references, which also provide further data 
on Native American population and troop distributions. 

Some quibbles are in order. The map showing historic 
tribal locations, as Prucha acknowledges, is incomplete 
and conveys an inaccurate impression of Indian North 
America as static. It is unfortunate the author does not 
provide a series of maps (as he does for troop distributions) 
to show that tribal locations also changed over time, 
instead of opting for one map which inevitably fails to con- 
vey complexity and omits some important groups. While 
census figures provide valuable and usable data, they are 
notoriously suspect in recording Native American num- 
bers. Reliance on the 1980 census obscures developments 
occurring in the last decade. For instance, the 1980 census 
counted only twenty-four people on the western Pequot 
reservation in Connecticut, of whom only six were 
Indians; these figures can convey no indication of the dra- 
matic resurgence that has occurred in the Mashantucket 
Pequot community since the tribe won federal recogni- 
tion in 1983. The findings of the 1990 census will prompt 
modifications in the near future, of course. Fewer maps 
relating to the military frontier, and more maps, for exam- 
ple, depicting the impact of allotment on Indian landhold- 
ings would have given the atlas broiider range and appeal. 

On balance, however, like all of Prucha's work, the 
atlas makes an imptnlant contribution lo the siucK o{ 
Indian affairs in [\\v Lhuted Slates, it will he piekcnl up 
linu- and again In t(\uliers, students, rc-searehers. and 
an)()ne who just enjo\s poring o\er niajis. 


University of ll'yo/ning 



The Cowboy at Work: All About His Job and How He Does 
It. By Fay E. Ward. Foreword by John R. Erickson. 
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987. Illus- 
trated. Index. Maps, xx and 262pp. Paper $14.95. 

Indian and Army participants, and provides a helpful 
guide for those who wish to follow the trail today. It 
includes sixteen maps of the route drawn specifically for 
the book. 

Fay E. Ward was an active cowboy in the West for 
more than forty years. He envisioned this book "as an 
authoritative reference work for all those interested in the 
cowhand as he functioned in his job during the period 
when there was still plenty of open range for him to cir- 
culate in." Ward covers such topics as the evolution of 
the cowboy, roundups, branding, roping, cowboy cloth- 
ing and jewelry, plus guns and equipment. 

Malcolm S. Campbell: Wyoming 1888-1978. By Malcolm S. 
Campbell. Hill City, South Dakota: ARCI Associ- 
ates, 1989. Illustrated. 172 pp. Paper. 

In 1968 Malcolm S. Campbell completed the memoirs 
of his long life in Wyoming. In his autobiography he 
describes his growing up years near Laramie Peak, his 
marriage to Reta, his work at the Salt Creek oil field, the 
difficult times of the 1930s, his family's move to Story 
in 1943, and his many community involvements. Also 
included in the book is a genealogical history of Malcolm 
S. Campbell. 

Following the Nez Perce Trail: A Guide to the Nee-Me-Poo 
National Historic Trail With Eyewitness Accounts. By 
Cheryl Wilfong. Corvalis: Oregon State University 
Press, 1990. Illustrated. Index. Bibliography. Appen- 
dices. Maps, xiv and 370 pp. Cloth $35.00. Paper 

From May through October, 1877, eight hundred Nez 
Perce traveled fifteen hundred miles through portions of 
Oregon, Idaho, Yellowslone National Park, and Mon- 
tana, while being pursued by U.S. soldiers. The Nez Perce 
(Nee-Me-Poo) Trail has recently been designated a 
National Historic Trail. This book covers the history of 
the Nez Perce retreat by using eyewitness accounts of both 

On Time for Disaster: The Rescue of Custer's Command. By 
Edward J. McClernand. Introduction by Carroll 
Friswold. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1990. Illustrated. Maps. 176 pp. Paper $6.95. 

Lieutenant Edward J. McClernand was part of the 
Montana Column, commanded by General John Gibbon, 
which came upon the battlefield of the Little Big Horn 
the day after Custer and his men engaged the Sioux, 
Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians. McClernand helped 
bury the bodies and assisted in drawing a map of the bat- 
tlefield. Included in this book is the journal McClernand 
kept from April, 1876, until October, 1876, as well as an 
expanded narrative, written fifty years later, which 
describes his life in the Second Cavalry during the first 
half of the 1870s. 

Rocky Mountain Constitution Making, 1850-1912. By Gor- 
don Morris Bakken. Westport, Connecticut: Green- 
wood Press, Inc., 1987. Index. Bibliographical Notes. 
Notes. Tables, x and 184 pp. Cloth $37.50. 

In this book Gordon Morris Bakken studies the con- 
stitutional conventions of eight Western states, Wyoming, 
Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, 
and Nevada. The author looks at how the convention dele- 
gates in those states reflected the needs of their region, 
while still adhering to the fundamental principles laid 
down in the U.S. Constitution. He does this by analyz- 
ing such topics as water, woman suffrage, state institu- 
tions, labor and corporation articles, and ta.xation of 
mineral wealth. 

Buffalo Days: The Personal Narrative of a Cattleman, Indian 
Fighter and Army Officer. By Colonel Homer W. 
Wheeler. Introduction by Thomas W. Dunlay. Lin- 
coln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Originally 



published: Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1925. Illus- 
trated. Index. 369 pp. Paper $11.95. 

Homer Wheeler, born and raised in Vermont, 
traveled to the West in 1868. His many experiences 
included stints as a freighter and a rancher, but most 
of his time in the West was as an army officer. The 
army offered him a commission in the Fifth Cavalry 
in 1875 after he had served well as a scout. Wheeler's 
greatest fame came as a commander of Indian scouts. 
Even though he talks about such people as Buffalo Bill 
and Jim Bridger, the strength of his account is in the 
description of his command of Indian scouts and his 
opinions about the Native Americans. 

In this two volume set the authors study the Boze- 
man Trail, one of the many trails which crossed the West 
during the nineteenth century. John Bozeman established 
the trail during the 1860s as a route to Montana's gold- 
fields. However, the route Bozeman chose crossed the 
hunting grounds of the Sioux Indians, which led to vio- 
lence along the trail. In the first volume, the authors look 
at the other western trails, and such topics as Fort 
Laramie, the Powder River Expedition, Fort Phil Kearny 
and the Fetterman Fight, which occurred on December 
21, 1866. Volume II picks up the story with an account 
of the ride of John "Portugee" Phillips, descriptions of 
the other forts along the Bozeman Trail, and concludes 
with chapters about Red Cloud and Jim Bridger. 

The Bridger Pass Overland Trail, 1862-1869: Through Colorado 
and Wyoming and Cross Roads at the Rawlins-Baggs Stage 
Road in Wyoming. By Louise Bruning Erb, Ann Brun- 
ing Brown, and Gilberta Bruning Hughes. Greeley, 
Colorado: Journal Publishing Company, Inc., 1989. 
Illustrated. Index. Bibliography. Maps. 231 pp. Paper 

The three authors in this book look at the Overland 
Trail which ran through northern Colorado and southern 
Wyoming during the 1860s. Studied are the forts and mail 
stations along the route, as well as the early exploration 
of the Bridger Pass country. Also studied is the history 
of the Rawlins to Baggs stage and freight road. The book 
contains many maps, documents, and photographs. 

The Bozeman Trail: Historical Accounts of the Blazing of the 
Overland Routes into the Northwest and the Fights with Red 
Cloud's Warriors. Volume I. By Grace Raymond 
Hebard and E.A. Brininstool. Introduction by John 
D. McDermott. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1990. Originally published: Cleveland, Ohio: 
A.H. Clark, 1961. Index. Illustrated. Maps, vii and 
369 pp. Paper $11.95. 

The Bozeman Trail: Historical Accounts oj the Blazing oj the 
Overland Routes into the Northwest and the Fights with Red 
Cloud's Warriors. Volume //. By Grace Rayniontl 
Hebard and E.A. Brininstool. Introdiu lion by Jolm 
D. McDermott. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1990. Originally published: Cleveland, Ohio: 
A.H. Clark, 1961. Index. Ilhislraled. Map. ix and 
281 pp. Paper $10.95. 

Weston County Heritage. By Weston County Heritage 
Group. Dallas, Texas: Curtis Media Corporation, 
1988. Illustrated. Index. 950 pp. Cloth. 

The Weston County Heritage Group compiled this 
history of one of Wyoming's northeastern counties. The 
general history of the county is explored as are the vari- 
ous towns, services, schools, industries, churches, cemeter- 
ies, and community organizations. Family histories, writ- 
ten by family members, comprise the majority of the book. 
The book's last chapter examines the current bvisinesses 
in the county. 

Blood on the Moon: Valentine McGillycuddy and the Siou.x. By 
Julia McGillycuddy. Introduction by James C. Olson. 
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Origi- 
nally published: Stanford University, California: Stan- 
ford University Press, 1941. Illustrated, xix and 291 
pp. Paper $10.95. 

Valentine T. McGillycuddy served in nian\- 
capacities— as a contract surgeon for the arnn-. a banker, 
an educator, and a public health physician — but he- is most 
noted lor liis controxersial tenuri- as agcMit at {\\c \\vd 
Cloud RescMxation from 1879 until I88I1. During ihese 
years he built a boarding school and organi/ed (he Indian 
police, but he also leudecl with Red Cloud and lulc-cl the 
agc-ncN' with an iion h.nid, resulting in his unpopularitx' 
among the Indians ,nul their Iric-nds. Not onl\ are these 
yeai's eoNcred. but .ilso McC iill\ euclcK "s role as niedialor 
in the I8«)() Wounded Knee tronhles, as wvW as Ins ser- 
vice as a (lo( lor dniiiii' the 1918 inlluen/a epidemic-. 



To the Editor: 

This letter relates to the lead article in the Fall 1990 issue of the 
Annals, "A New Centennial Reflection" by Roy C. Jordan. I was 
appalled by this example of "revisionist"" history, wherein Mr. Jor- 
dan re-interprets history to accommodate and promote his 1990 

The study of history should be one in which we strive to learn 
how human beings, in other times, responded to situations very differ- 
ent from those we know today. That requires an objective analysis 
of what and why they felt and acted as they did. It recjuires accepting 
their perspectives and not imposing our own. 

When Mr. Jordan begins with the thesis that his peculiar perspec- 
tives from 1990 are enshrined in perfect correctness and then judges 
another age by how it measures up to these perfectly correct views, 
I don't believe this represents a study of history, as I understand that 
phrase. It is another process altogether, using that other time to impose 
moral lessons upon us today. George Orwell described such a use of 

I can appreciate the usefulness of employing another time to pro- 
mote discussion of the moral challenges of our time. But that's the 
least of what Mr. Jordan did. He also engaged in an intemperate attack 
on my Wyoming heritage. His pronouncements were neither meas- 
ured nor fair. They displayed contempt for a lot of brave people whose 
perspectives on life were as valid as Mr. Jordan's. 

I understand that this article was offered in the hope that it might 
spur debate regarding Wyoming history. I'm sorry, but I can't accept 
Mr. Jordan's article as a legitimate agenda for a debate about Wyo- 
ming history 

John W. Davis 
Worland, Wyoming 

Roy Jordan replies: 

Mr. Davis finds that I have been engaged in that most suspicious 
of all academic pursuits, "revisionist" thinking, and I have had the 
temerity to update history. I even had the "intemperance" it seems, 
to have "displayed contempt for a lot of brave people." That's a heap 
of charges. 

Perhaps my revisionism began when I mentioned those weathered 
reminders of past realities: "ghost towns, abandoned school houses, 
lonely homesteads, and faded false front businesses." Any concen- 
tration on implications of the past failures do run counter to an onward 
and upward, simpler and unbroken pioneer success story. Maybe it 
is the balancing of the story of history to include the lives of real peo- 
ple that is revisionism — if so, we need more of it, not less. 

Was Mr. Davis "appalled" when I suggested that "we also can 
give Indian people a voice" in a more mature vision for Wyoming? 

When I challenged that Indian people are "not props nor are they 
relics" perhaps I intruded in Mr. Davis' view of history, if that's the 
case, I hope I did. 

I undoubtedly revised his story again when I asked us all to look 
squarely at Wyoming's dismal social record — its "high suicide rate 
. . . high infant mortality rate . . . extraordinarily high teenage preg- 
nancy rate . . . highest drinking rate . . . ." Perhaps it is that those 
who prefer complacent history are uncomfortable with the conclusion 
that there might be a connection between those statistics and the 
uniqueness of Wyoming's culture. That's what historians do — look 
for causes, make conclusions, even, heaven help us — search for 

Mr. Davis might have thought I was being too subjective and had 
a "peculiar perspective" when I stated that "part of Wyoming is a 
state of mind" and that "cultures are created" and are "changeable." 
Well, I'm guilty of that one. Human cultures can change, we can 

I could go further with this game of rebuttal, but I am sure that 
the crux of Mr. Davis' argument and the source of his discomfort is 
my perceived "attack on my [Davis'] Wyoming heritage." Well, he 
is probably right on that one. 

It is not his history. History is not private property; it's not some- 
thing one owns and then passes on to others who share our particular 
views. That makes it something less than history, it become merely 
interesting. Mr. Davis' view of personal possession is, unfortunately, 
not unique to him, it is widespread, and that is why I am replying 
to his frustration. If we perpetuate the idea that our state's history 
has been only one-sided, always heroic in actions and flawlessly upright 
in motives, we then pass on an impoverished legacy. 

Contentment with "our" heritage doesn't allow for the essential 
reevaluation that our culture needs in order to stay alive and vibrant. 
Historians have an obligation to point to problems and ask questions, 
not to celebrate those myths which we have fashioned ourselves. 

"Our" heritage — our history — implies that we should write with 
some sort of cosmic objectivity. That's not history. It will take cour- 
age to face the fact that there has been failure, injury, and deceit in 
the state's collective background as well as heroism, accomplishment 
and exuberant expansion. It takes courage to face our own flaws. 

It is those elements which we exclude from ourselves which turn 
out to be devils. That applies, for instance, to Indian people, the fed- 
eral government or to the Wyomingites on welfare rolls. Indians seem 
"devilish," the government is suspect and social problems are for- 
gotten because they never have been included in the cultvu-e; they have 
not been part of "our" history. 

The myths I mentioned are enormously useful basic belief sys- 
tems, but only when they are examined in light oi today's history. Every 
new era creates its own new myths — new ways to dispense cultural 
advice and the collective wisdom to cope with new problems. We've 
got new problems, we need a new mythology; don't deny history by 
making it sterile and useless — don't make it dead-ended — please don't 
make it only "yours." 



Volume 63, No. 3 Summer, 1991 



' A 

< ■ ' 



In 1895 the state of Wyoming established a department to 
collect and preserve materials which interpret the history 
of Wyoming. Today those duties are performed by the 
Division of Parks and Cultural Resources in the Depart- 
ment of Commerce. Located in the department are the 
State Historical Research Library, the State Archives, the 
State Museum, the State Art Gallery, the State Historic 
Sites, and the State Historic Preservation Office. The 
Department solicits original records such as diaries, letters, 
books, early newspapers, maps, photographs and records 
of early businesses and organizations as well as artwork 
and artifacts for museum exhibit. The Department asks for 
the assistance of all Wyoming citizens to secure these 
documents and artifacts. 

Mike Sullivan 

Max Maxfield 

David Kathka 



George Zeimens, Lingle 

Frances Fisher, Saratoga _^ 

Pam Rankin, Jackson 

Karin Cyrus-Strid, Gillette 

David Peck, Lovell 

Nerval Waller, Sundance 

Jere Bogrett, Riverton 

Mary Ellen McWilliams, Sheridan 

Hale Kreycik, Douglas 


OFFICERS, 1990-1991 

Scott Handley, President, Pine Haven 

Dale J. Morris, First Vice-President, Green River 

Walter Edens, Second Vice-President, Laramie 

Sherry Taylor, Secretary, Casper 

Gladys Hill, Treasurer, Douglas 

David Kathka, Executive-Secretary 

Judy West, State Coordinator 

ABOUT THE COVER— "Holt's New Map of Wyoming" was the first map of Wyoming drawn from the official surveys in the U.S. Eand Office. 
George L. Holt, one of Wyoming's early pioneers, arriving in Cheyenne during September, 1867, produced a number of Wyoming maps during 
the 1880s. The Holt maps are valuable historical documents because they contain such information as the locations of towns, forts, railroads (pro- 
posed and built), nuinng districts, roads, telegraph lines, post offices, and ranches. This niap is located in the state's Historical Research Library. 



Volume 63, No. 3 
Summer, 1991 


Rick Ewig, Editor 

Jean Brainerd, Associate Editor 

Roger Joyce, Assistant Editor 

Ann Nelson, Assistant Editor 

Paula West Chavoya, Photographic Editor 


Michael Cassity 
Roy Jordan 
David Kathka 
William H. Moore 
Robert L. Munkres 
Philip J. Roberts 

ANNALS OF WYOMING was established 
in 1923 to disseminate historical information 
about Wyoming and the West through the 
publication of articles and documents. Lhe 
editors of ANNALS OF WYOMING wel- 
come manuscripts on every aspect of 
Wyoming and Western history. 

Authors should submit two typed, double- 
spaced copies of their manuscripts with 
footnotes placed at the end. Manuscripts 
submitted should conform to A MANUAL 
OF STYLE (University of Chicago Press). 
The Editor reserves the right to submit all 
manuscripts to members of the Editorial 
Advisory Board or to authorities in the 
field of study for recommendations. Pub- 
lished articles represent the view of the 
authors and are not necessarily those of the 
Division of Parks and Cultural Resources, 
Department of Commerce or the Wyoming 
State Historical Society. 


SNAKE FRONTIERS: The Eastern Shoshones 

in the Eighteenth Century 82 

by Colin C. Calloway 

BONNEVILLE'S FORAY: Exploring the 

Wind Rivers in 1833 93 

by James R. Wolf 


Dances with V\lolvcs, reviewed by John D. 

McDermott. i(-,r-.,-.. 

Come See the Paradise, reviewed by j r '" - • ^■' " j "c 

Bill Hosokawa. ' '' ^; ^ - ' ' '■' ^^/C.V.'NG 


Campbell and Jordan, Discovering Wyoming, 
and Adams and Sodaro, Wyoming in a 
Lonesome Land, reviewed by Cathy Ellis 
and Jim Johns. 


Storti, Incident at Bitter Creek: Vie Story 

of the Rock Spniiigs Chinese Massacre, 

reviewed by Dudley Gardner. 
Nash, World War II and the West: Reshaping 

the Economy, reviewed by Dave Kathka. 
Ronda, Astoria & Empiire, 

reviewed by Roger D. Launius 
Grant, We Took the Train, 

reviewed by James L. Ehernberger. 
Brown, First Ladies of Wyoming 1869-1990, 

reviewed by Philip J. Roberts. 


ANNALS OF WYOMING is published quarterly by the Division of Parks and 
Cultural Resources, Department of Commerce, Barrett Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 
82002. It is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society as the 
t)fficial publication of that organization. Membership dues are: Single $9; Joint $12; 
Institutional $20; Life $150; Joint Life $200. Current membership is 1,948. Copies of 
previous and current issues of ANNALS may be purchased from the Editor. Cor- 
respondence should be addressed to the Editor, ANNALS OF WYOMING articles 
are abstracted in I iislorical .Abslrjcts and America: 1 listorx' and Lite. 

^■-1 Copvri,i;h 

1J e LlltUlMl Kl 

's Pfpaitmonl 


The Eastern Shoshones in the Eighteenth Century 

by Colin C. Calloway 

A Shoshone warrior 



On Sunday, August 11, 1805, Captain Meriwether 
Lewis saw his first Shoshone Indian. The warrior reined 
his pony to a halt and watched with mounting suspicion 
as Lewis advanced toward him. The captain made gestures 
of friendship and brandished trade goods for the Shoshone 
to see, but the Indian wheeled his horse around and 
vanished into the willows. In the next few days, however, 
the Lewis and Clark expedition did succeed in estabhshing 
contact with a member of the Lemhi Shoshone band of 
Cameahwait, who turned out to be the brother or cousin 
of their famous Indian companion, Sacajawea. More im- 
portant, they gained access to the Shoshones' horses, 
without which further progress toward the Pacific would 
have been all but impossible. ^ 

Most histories of the Shoshone or Snake Indians begin 
at this point. Subsequent chapters describe the Shoshone 
role in the Rocky Mountain fur trade, acknowledge their 
record of amicable relations with White Americans, and 
pay due respect to the statesmanlike leadership of their 
famous chief, Washakie. ^ Studies of other Indian tribes in 
the Plateau-Rocky Mountain region tend to follow a similar 
approach: they pay scant attention to historical develop- 
ments before Lewis and Clark arrived, and an introduc- 
tory chapter usually suffices to set an unchanging scene 
before the author proceeds to the main purpose of describ- 
ing post-contact tribal history and U.S. -Indian relations. ^ 

1. Reuben G. Thwaites, ed., Original journals of the Lewis and Clark 
Expedition, vol. 2 (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1904), pp. 329-331, 

. 361, 366; James Ronda, Lewis and Clark among the Indians (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1984), pp. 139-140; John E. Rees, "The 
Shoshoni Contribution to Lewis and Clark," Idaho Yesterdays 2 (Sum- 
mer 1958): 2-13. 

2. e.g.: Virginia Trenholm and Maurine Carley, The Shoshonis: Sentinels 
of the Rockies (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964); Brigham 
D. Madsen, The Lemhi: Sacajewea's People (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton 
Printers Ltd., 1979). On Washakie see Dale L. Morgan, ed., "Washakie 
and the Shoshoni: A Selection of Documents from the Records of 
the Utah Superintendency of Indian Affairs," Annals of Wyoming 25 
Ouly 1953): 141-188; 26 Ganuary 1954): 65-80; 26 Ouly 1954): 141-190; 27 
(April 1955): 61-88; 27 (October 1955): 198-220; 28 (April 1956): 80-93; 
28 (October 1956): 193-207; 29 (April 1957): 86-102; 29 (October 1957): 
195-227; 30 (April 1958): 53-89; and Grace Raymond Hebard, Washakie 
(Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1930). 

3. e.g.: John Fahey, The Flathead Indians (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1974); Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown, The 
Cayuse Indians: Imperial Tribesmen of Old Oregon (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1972); Francis Haines, The Nez Perccs: Tribesmen 
of the Columbia Plateau (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1955); 
Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the North- 
west (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965). 

Anthropologists have devoted considerable attention 
to the eastern Shoshone,^ but most historians ignore 
Shoshone history before Lewis and Clark. The people 
Lewis and Clark encountered had not been living in a 
vacuum. Sacajawea herself had been carried off from her 
homeland by a raiding party who took her to the Hidatsa 
villages on the Missouri River where Lewis and Clark 
recruited her. Atsina raiders hit Cameahwait's band just 
before the Americans arrived. Such events were part and 
parcel of Shoshone history in the century before Lewis and 
Clark; it was little wonder the Shoshones were nervous 
at meeting new strangers with guns and "with faces pale 
as ashes. "^ 

Many reports described the Shoshones as a timid 
people whose Rocky Mountain homes provided refuge 
from powerful and predatory enemies. During the first 
decade of the twentieth century, anthropologist Robert H. 
Lowie spoke of their "natural timidity." A century earlier 
fur trader Alexander Henry wrote "The Snakes are a 
miserable, defenseless nation, who never venture abroad. 
The Piegans call them old women, whom they can kill with 
sticks and stones."^ It had not always been so. For a time 
during the eighteenth century, the eastern Shoshones were 
a dominant power on the northwestern plains. Unfor- 
tunately, they found themselves on the cutting edge— or 
rather the receiving end— of successive frontiers of change 
and upheaval as waves of horses, germs, guns, and 
enemies buffeted their world. Their fluctuating fortunes 
mirror the changes other tribes experienced in this era and 
illustrate that plains and mountain Indian society before 
Lewis and Clark was anything but static and uneventful. 

Cameahwait's people were a band of northern 
Shoshones, splintered from their relatives by Blackfoot 
pressure from the north. For the purposes of this paper, 
the term Snake refers primarily to the eastern Shoshone 
of Wyoming (who eventually settled on Wind River), but 

4. e.g.: Robert H. Lowie, "The Northern Shoshones," Anthropological 
Papers of the American Museum of Natural Histon/ 2 (January 1909): 
165-307; D.B. Shimkin, "Wind River Shoshone Ethnogeographv," 
University of California, Anthrop'ological Records 5; 4 (1947); Ake 
Hultkrantz, "The Shoshones in the Rocky Mountain Area," Annals 
of Wyoming 33 (April 1961): 19-41; Omer C. Stewart, "The Shoshoni: 
Their History and Social Organization," Idaho Yesterdaus "^ (Fall 1965): 
2-5, 28. 

5. Thwaites, Original Jounmls of Lewis and Clark, vol. 2, p. 3eil; vol. 4, 
pp. 74, 77; Ronda, Lcivis and Clark among the Indians, pp. 133, 140, 142. 

6. Lowie, "The Northern Shoshone," p. 171; Elliott Coues, ed., vol. 
2, Nezo Light on the Early Histori/ of the Greater Nortlmvst: The Mainiscript 
journals of Alexander Heimi and David Thompson, 1799-1814 (New York: 
Francis P. Harper, 1897), p. 726. 



SUMMER 1991 

the northern or Idaho Shoshone are also included in the 
term and feature in the story since they shared similar ex- 
periences in the era under consideration, and northern and 
eastern bands moved freely in and out of each other's 

The fashion for calling these people Shoshones stems 
from the nineteenth century. During the eighteenth cen- 
tury they were known as Snakes, and so-called by their 
Comanche cousins as well as by the Blackfeet, Atsinas, and 
others. The term Snake raises problems of identification: 
it may have referred to the Kiowas when they inhabited 
the Black Hills, to undifferentiated Shoshone-Comanche, 
or embraced almost all tribes living along the eastern slope 
of the central Rockies. Moreover, early travelers and 
chroniclers in the Rockies sometimes lumped Northern 
Shoshones, Bannocks, and Paiutes together under the 
name "Snake." The use of the snake movement in sign 
language may have referred to the old Shoshone practice 
of weaving grass lodges, or it may simply have indicated 
"enemy," since most western tribes metaphorically termed 
strangers and adversaries "snakes."^ 

The Shoshones originated in the Great Basin area of 
Nevada. More than five hundred years before Lewis and 
Clark, a great drought struck the area, triggering a series 
of population movements.^ During the early sixteenth cen- 
tury groups of Shoshone-Comanche speakers were drift- 
ing across the Rocky Mountains and on to the north- 
western plains. Once on the plains some groups pushed 
south along the front range, others north, so that by 
1700 a continuous band of Shoshone-Comanche speakers 
stretched from southern Alberta to southern Colorado 
along the east slope of the Rockies. According to one 
account, when Cheyennes first encountered Shoshones 
during the late 1700s, they called them "Mountain 

7. George E. Hyde, Indians of the High Plains (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1970), p. 127n; Shimkin, "Eastern Shoshone," in 
D'Azevedo, Handbook of North American Indians, p. 334; Lawrence J. 
Burpee, ed., journals and Letters of Pierre Gaultier De Varennes De La 
Verendrye and his Sons. With Correspondence between the Governors of 
Canada and the French Court, Touching the Search for the Western Sea 
(Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1927), p. 21, 412n; Donald D. 
Fowler, "Cultural Ecology and Culture History of the Eastern 
Shoshoni Indians" (Ph.D. dissertation. University of Pittsburgh, 
1965), pp. 46-49; Robert F. Murphy and Yolanda Murphy, "North- 
ern Shoshone and Bannock," in Warren L. D'Azevedo, ed. Hand- 
book of North American Indians, vol. U: Great Basin (Washington D.C.: 
The Smithsonian Institution, 1986), pp. 287, 305; Trenholm and 
Carley, The Shoshonis, p. 19. 

8. Murphy and Murphy, "Northern Shoshone and Bannock," p. 284; 
Francis Haines, The Plains Indians (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 
1976), pp. 32-33. 

Comanches."^ While their Comanche relatives migrated 
out of the Rocky Mountains and drove the Apaches off the 
southern plains during the eighteenth century,^" the 
Snakes expanded their hunting territories toward the head- 
waters of the Missouri River and established themselves 
on the plains of Wyoming and Montana." 

Documentary evidence indicates that Snakes were on 
the northwestern plains in numbers by the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and while the archaeological evidence verifying 
Shoshonean expansion on to the high plains is not con- 
clusive, there are indications of Shoshonean occupation. 
Finds of a distinctive, flat-bottomed Shoshonean pottery 
in the Laramie Basin, a probable Shoshonean buffalo kill 
site in the same area, petroglyphs of possible Shoshonean 
origin in the Wind River Valley and southern Big Horn 
Basin, a bundle burial from south-central Wyoming, tools, 
trade fragments, campsites, and lodge remains point to a 
significant Shoshonean presence on the northwestern 
plains during the late prehistoric and protohistoric periods, 
and support migration rather than an in-situ explanation 
of their presence. ^^ 

9. Fowler, "Cultural Ecology and Culture History of the Eastern 
Shoshoni Indians," pp. 45, 56-57; Shimkin, "Eastern Shoshone," 
p. 308; Hultkrantz, "The Shoshones in the Rocky Mountain Area," 
pp. 22-24; "The Shoshone Role in Western History," box 2, Virginia 
Cole Trenholm Collection, American Heritage Center, Laramie, 
Wyoming; Ella C. Clark, Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies (Nor- 
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), p. 168, records as Indian 
tradition explaining the Shoshone-Comanche split as the result of 
a conflict between two hunters. 

10. Ernest Wallace and E. Adamson Hoebel, The Comanches: Lords of the 
South Plains (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952), pp. 8-10; 
Frank Raymond Secoy, Changing Militan/ Patterns on the Great Plains 
(17th through Early 19th Century) Monographs of the American Ethnological 
Society (1953), 30 ff; D.B. Shimkin, "Shoshone-Comanche Origins and 
Migrations," Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of the Pacific Science 
Association (1940): 4. 

11. Hyde, The Indians of the High Plains, ch. 6; Anthony Robert McCin- 
nis, "Intertribal Conflict on the Northern Plains, 1738-1889" (Ph.D. 
dissertation. University of Colorado, 1974), p. 69. 

12. Fowler, "Cultural Ecology and Culture History of the Eastern 
Shoshone," pp. 55-56; George C. Prison, Prehistoric Hunters of the 
High Plains (New York: Academic Press, 1978), pp. 51, 64-67, 80-81, 
246, 369, 405-410, 424; idem, "Shoshonean Antelope Procurement 
in the Upper Green River Basin, Wyoming," Plains Anthropologist 16 
(1971): 254-284; Davis S. Gebhard, The Rock Art of Dmwoody (Santa 
Barbara: The Art Galleries, University of California, 1969), pp. 21-22; 
Davis S. Gebhard, and Harold A. Cahn, "The Petroglyphs of Din- 
woody, Wyoming," American Antiquity 15 (1950): 219-228; Mark E. 
Miller and George W. Gill, "A Late Prehistoric Bundle Burial from 
Southern Wyoming," Plains Anthropologist 25-89 (1980): 235-246; Gary 
A. Wright, "The Shoshonean Migration Problem," Plains An- 
thropologist 23-80 (1978): 113-137. 



Map shoiving the Native Lands of the Arapaho and Shoshone Indians. 

Migration on to the plains brought the Snakes new 
sources of power and prosperity, but the transition to the 
buffalo hunting and tipi dwelling culture of the plains was 
neither sudden nor complete. Plains Snakes came to be 
distinguished from their relatives west of the Rockies by 
location, subsistence, and cultural adaptation, but 
Shoshone band organization was loose and the same fam- 
ily might be called "fish eaters" when they lived in the 
west, and "buffalo eaters" if they joined up with an eastern 
band. The eastern Shoshones themselves were differen- 
tiated between Buffalo Eaters and Mountain Sheep Eaters. 
Kiowa tradition remembers the Snakes as living in grass 
lodges when they first met them on the plains, and old 
people interviewed on the Wind River Reservation dur- 
ing the early twentieth century recalled "a period when 
they had no horses, when small game took the place of 
buffalo and the people lacked the skin-covered tepees of 
more recent times." The Snakes' western relatives re- 
mained poor, living in small family groups and subsisting 
on roots, fish, seeds, and berries. In 1849 the Indian agent 
at Salt Lake drew a distinction that, while not necessarily 
ethnologically accurate, nevertheless reflected the realities 
of life on different sides of the mountains: 

Among the Sho-sho-nies there are only two bands, prop- 
erly speaking. The principal or better portion are called Sho 
she nies, (or Snakes) who are rich enough to own horses. The 
others, the Sho-sho-coes, (or Walkers) are those who cannot 
or do not own horses. 

Other observers drew a similar distinction between "the 
real Sho-sho-nes" who owned horses and hunted buffalo 
on the plains and the rest who kept to the mountains or 
lived by fishing." 

Shoshones in southern Idaho obtained horses by about 
1700. Tradition says they got the horses from their Com- 
anche kinsmen, although the Utes of western Colorado 

13. Josephy, The Nez Perec huiiaus mui the Opening; of the Northwest, pp. 
60, 61n; Shimkin, "Eastern Shoshone," p. 309; Hultkrantz, "The 
Shoshones of the Rocky Mountain Area," pp. 21-25; Aubrev Haines, 
ed., Osborne Russell's Journal of a Trapper (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1970), pp. 144-145; James Mooney, Calendar Histori/ 
of the Kiowa Indians (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 
1979 reprint ed.), p. 160; Clark, Indians Legends from the Northern 
Rockies, p. 168; Morgan, ed., "Washakie and the Shoshoni" 25 (July 
1953): 146, 157; Stewart, "The Shoshoni and Their Histor>' and Social 
Organization," p. 5; Hiram M. Chittenden and Alfred T. Richard- 
son, eds., Life, Letters and Travels of Father Pierre-jean Pc Siiiet. S.J. 
180I-I873, vol. 1 (New York: Francis P. Harper, 1905), p. .^01; cf. Mur- 
pliv and Miirph\', "Nortiiorn Shoshone and Bannock." p. 284. 



SUMMER 1991 

may also have supplied mounts. Comanche, Ute, and 
Kiowa middlemen passed horses west of the Continental 
Divide until they reached the Snakes. The Snakes in turn 
functioned as a "funnel," distributing horses throughout 
the Pacific Northwest and supplying directly or indirectly 
the Crows, Cayuses, Walla Wallas, Yakimas, Palouses, Nez 
Perces, Flatheads, Couer d'Alenes, Pend d'Oreilles, 
Spokans, Kalispels, and other Plateau neighbors.^* 

Early possession of horses, and a strategic location that 
facilitated continued access to southern horse traders, gave 
the Snakes a distinct edge over unmounted neighbors. In- 
creasing numbers of Snakes filtered through South Pass 
on to the buffalo rich plains of Wyoming and Montana, 
and, by the third decade of the eighteenth century, they 
seem to have occupied an area from the Saskatchewan to 
the Platte. Indian raiders identified as Snakes terrorized 
tribes from the Saskatchewan to the Missouri and even 
clashed with Apache bands in western Nebraska and 
northeastern Colorado. ^^ 

Early conflicts between the Snakes and Blackfeet oc- 
curred on foot. Saukampee, an old Cree living with the 
Piegans, told fur trader David Thompson of a battle that 
took place sometime before 1730, in which Snakes and 
Piegans lined up in ranks behind large rawhide shields and 
engaged in an exchange of arrows that resulted in several 
warriors being wounded before nightfall put an end to the 
skirmish. Horses and guns soon put an end to this defen- 
sive warfare. Snake cavalry brought a new form of war- 
fare to the northern plains and the unmounted Blackfeet 
long remembered their first encounter with the new 
weapon, when Snake warriors swinging heavy stone war 

clubs rode down on them as "swift as the Deer," killing 
many of their best men.^^ 

Horses transformed the Snakes' ability to exploit the 
buffalo-rich plains. The Wyoming Snakes did most of their 
hunting in the region beyond South Pass, into the valleys 
of the Wind and Big Horn rivers, with winter camping 
grounds in the Green River region. Full utilization of the 
buffalo resource was limited by the herds' migratory habits, 
the foot requirement of the Snakes' horses, and the 
demands of almost continual warfare. The increased level 
of buffalo hunting also generated significant changes in 
Snake society. Hunting required collective organization 
and increased nomadism, and chieftainships developed to 
a new level as leaders emerged to coordinate the hunts, 
maintain order, and organize military responses. ^^ 

Horses, however, also served as a magnet for enemy 
attention and a resource around which conflict escalated. 
It was only a matter of time before neighbors adopted 
horses into their cultures and arsenals. Cay use tradition 
recalls how they encountered Snake horsemen for the first 
time sometime before 1750. Hastening to make a truce with 
the Snakes, the Cayuses returned home with a pair of 
Spanish ponies as seed for their own herds. But it was 
easier to increase herd size by raiding than by breeding 
and Cayuse raiders were soon making regular visits to 
Snake horse herds. Learning the Cayuses had obtained 
horses from the Snakes, the Nez Perces sent a party south 
to trade for ponies. Flathead and Crow traders and raiders 
also turned to Snake horse herds, and by the second 
quarter of the eighteenth century the Blackfeet too had ac- 
quired their first horses. The Snakes soon lost their 
equestrian advantage. ^^ 

14. John C. Ewers, The Horse in Blackfoot Culture, with Comparative Material 
from Other Tribes (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 
1969 reprint ed.), pp. 6-7, 11; D.B. Shimkin, "Wind River Shoshone 
Geography," American Anthropologist 40 (1938): 415; Capt. W.P. Clark, 
The Indian Sign Language (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
reprint of 1885 ed.), p. 338; Clark Wissler, "The Influence of the Horse 
in the Development of Plains Culture," American Anthropologist 16 
(1914): 13, 24; Frank Gilbert Roe, The Indian and the Horse (Norman: 
University of Oklahoma Press, 1955), pp. 126-128, 308; Francis Haines, 
"Horses for Western Indians," The American West 3 (Spring 1966): 
12; idem., "The Northward Spread of Horses to the Plains Indian," 
American Anthropologist 40 (July 1938): 435-436; idem.. The Nez Perces, 
p. 18; Fahey, The Flathead Indians, p. 17; Josephy, The Perce Indians 
and the Opening of the Northwest, pp. 24-25; Trenholm and Carley, The 
Shoshonis, pp. 19-20. 

15. Secoy, Changing Militan/ Patterns on the Great Plains, pp. 33; Hyde, 
Indians of the High Plains, pp. x, 117, 134. 

16. Richard Glover, ed., David Thompson's Narrative, 1784-1812 (Toronto: 
The Champlain Society, 1962), pp. 240-242; John C. Ewers, "Inter- 
tribal Warfare as the Precursor of Indian-White Warfare on the North- 
ern Great Plains," Western Historical Quarterly 6 (October 1975): 401. 

17. Murphy and Murphy, "Northern Shoshone and Bannock," pp. 
289-291; Shimkin, "Eastern Shoshone," p. 309. On the buffalo 
economy of the Wind River Shoshone see Shimkin, "Wind River 
Shoshone Ethnogeography," pp. 265-268. 

18. Ruby and Brown, The Cayuse Indians, p. 7 and fn, 14, 19; Josephy, 
The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest, p. 28; Haines, 
The Nez Perces, p. 18; Ewers, The Horse in Blackfoot Indian Culture, pp. 
16-18, thinks the Blackfeet obtained their first horses later than 1730 
and in trade from other Plateau tribes rather than from their Snake 
enemies (cf. Oscar Lewis, The Effects of White Contact on Blackfoot 
Culture: With Special Reference to the Role of the Fur Trade. Monographs 
of the American Ethnological Society 6 (1942): 39; and Glover, ed., David 
Thompson's Narrative, p. 244n). 



Nevertheless, direct trade into New Mexico and in- 
direct trade via Comanche middlemen kept the Snakes the 
richest horse power on the northern plains well into the 
second half of the century. In order to enjoy continued sup- 
plies of horses, mules, and European metal goods from 
the south, they seem to have turned to bartering war cap- 
tives, tapping into the Spanish-Indian slave trade that had 
developed in the southwest. The Snakes themselves often 
fell victim to Ute slave raids, and they now extended the 
slave-raiding frontier to the northern plains, raiding far and 
wide for captives. Archaeological finds of Shoshonean and 
Crow pottery together in the same campsites have been 
interpreted as evidence that one group was stealing women 
from the other, or at least trading them. Their slave raids 
"reinforced the polarization of all surrounding tribes 
toward the Snake as the enemy," and victimized tribes 
raided for vengeance as well as to acquire the horses they 
badly needed to compete with the mounted Snakes." 

When La Verendrye ventured on to the northern plains 
in 1743, the Snakes were regularly raiding eastern villages 
and the Frenchman's sons heard that the "Gens de 
Serpents" had destroyed seventeen Indian camps in the 
Black Hills just prior to their arrival. Infected by their In- 
dian guides' fear, the French explorers turned for home 
without seeing more than a rumor of the dreaded Snakes. 
As historian George E. Hyde commented, Verendrye' s 
report of these events "gives one the impression of a group 
of Frenchmen moving about, lost in a great smoke cloud 
through which dim shapes of Indian bands move, ghost- 
like. "^^ On his journey to Saskatchewan as late as 1772, 
Hudson's Bay trader Matthew Cocking noted "The Natives 
in general are afraid of the Snake Indians," and the Snake 
threat may have been a major factor in prompting a loose 
alliance between the Blackfeet, Sarsi, Assiniboine, and 
Plains Cree.^^ 


19. Hyde, Indians of the High Plains, p. 119; Secoy, Changing Military Pat- 
terns on the Great Plains, pp. 22-24, 38, 47; Prison, Prehistoric Hunters 
of the High Plains, p. 67; idem., "Crow Pottery in Northern Wyoming," 
Plains Anthropologist 21 (1976): 29-44; William T. Mulloy, "A 
Preliminary Historical Outline for the Northwestern Plains," Univer- 
sity of Wyoming Publications in Science 22 (1958): 199. On the Indian 
slave trade in the southwest see L. R. Bailey, Indian Slave Trade in 
the South West (Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1961). 

20. Burpee, ed.. Journals and Letters of Verendrye, p. 21; Hyde, Indians of 
the High Plains, p. 131. 

21. Lawrence J. Burpee, ed., "An Adventurer from Hudson Bay: Jour- 
nal of Matthew Cocking, from York Factory to the Blackfeet Coun- 
try, 1772-73," Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd series, 
2 (1908): section II: 103, 106, 112; Secoy, Changing Military Patterns, 
pp. 37, 47. 

22. Glover, ed., David Thompson's Narrative, pp. 242-243. 

Posed photograph of a Shoshone warrior. 

However, the ascendancy of the "Gens de Serpents" 
was already in decline before Cocking heard of their 
prowess. The introduction of European firearms and the 
arrival of new people on the northwestern plains soon off- 
set Snake wealth in horses. Saukampee related how, un- 
able to cope with the Snakes' new mobility, the Blackfeet 
enlisted help from the Crees and Assiniboines. Ten allies 
came to their aid with guns. In a battle that probably oc- 
curred during the late 1730s, the Snakes had their first taste 
of firearms. The Snake warriors were on foot (which sug- 
gests the Snakes themselves were still in the process of 
building up their horse herds at this time) and lined up 
in traditional style. The Crees and Assiniboines unsheathed 
their weapons, gunned down some fifty warriors, and put 
the startled survivors to flight. ^^ The new firearms became 
the key to victory in the new warfare of the northern plains 
and Rockies; access to firearms became the kev to survival. 



SUMMER 1991 

From mid-century the Blackfeet and their allies enjoyed 
increasing access to supplies of guns, ammunition, iron 
arrowheads and axes, and metal knives, at the same time 
as they began to close the gap on the Snakes in terms of 
horse power. The French built trading posts on the Assini- 
boine and Saskatchewan rivers during the 1730s and 1740s. 
Cree and Assiniboine traders peddled guns from English 
posts around Hudson Bay until the westward movement 
of Montreal traders robbed them of their lucrative mid- 
dleman role with the tribes of the western plains. Follow- 
ing the creation of the aggressive new Northwest Com- 
pany in 1784, the Hudson's Bay Company itself began to 
push west, erecting a string of posts on the Saskatchewan 
River. By 1794 trading posts ringed Blackfoot territory. ^^ 

The Snakes and other western tribes were unable to 
get guns. The Blackfeet prevented traders in Canada from 
peddling firearms to the western tribes. Spanish policy for- 
bade the sale or trade of guns to Indians, and southern 
plains tribes obtained insufficient supplies of firearms to 
trade northwards. In time, guns from the Cree- Assiniboine 
made their way west via the Mandan-Hidatsa villages and 
Crow intermediaries, but they were few in number and 
prohibitively expensive. When Lewis and Clark met the 
Snakes, they had Spanish articles of trade but only a few 
guns "which they had obtained from the Rocky Mountain 
Indians [Crows] on the Yellowstone River." In 1805, ac- 
cording to trader Antoine Larocque, neither the Snakes nor 
the Flatheads had been able to secure firearms, and 
Shoshone tradition recalled that, before Lewis and Clark, 
"We knew nothing about guns except their effects."^"* 

The Snakes, Flatheads, and Kutenais learned to avoid 
pitched battles with the Blackfeet, resorting to guerrilla 

23. John C. Ewers, The Blackfeet: Raiders on the Northwestern Plains (Nor- 
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958), pp. 23-28; Arthur J. Ray, 
Indians in the Fur Trade: Their Role as Hunters, Trappers and Middlemen 
in the Lands Southwest of Hudson Bay 1660-1870 (Toronto: University 
of Toronto Press, 1974), passim; David G. Mandlebaum, "The Plains 
Cree," Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History 
37 (1940): 178, 182; Glover, ed., David Thompson's Narrative, p. 245; 
R. Cole Harris, ed.. Historical Atlas of Canada, vol. 1 (Toronto: Univer- 
sity of Toronto Press, 1987), plates 57, 60, 61, 62. 

24. John C. Ewers, Indian Life on the Upper Missouri (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1968), pp. 24, 27, 38; Thwaites, Original Journals 
of Lewis and Clark, vol. 2, pp. 341, 347; vol. 3, pp. 19, 30; "Francois- 
Antoine Larocque's 'Yellowstone Journal.' " in W. Raymond Wood 
and Thomas D. Thiessen, eds.. Early Fur Trade on the Northern Plains: 
Canadian Traders Among the Mandan and Hidatsa Indians, 1738-1818 (Nor- 
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), p. 220; Clark, Indians 
Legends from the Northern Rockies, p. 206. (On Crow-Shoshone trade 
see Thwaites, vol. 6, p. 103, and Wood and Thiessen, p. 170 n). 

warfare against their gun-toting foes. Snakes still wore 
leather armor at the time of Lewis and Clark's visit, but 
coats of leather that would turn an arrow provided little 
protection in the age of gunfire. Guns also rendered 
obsolete the lance and the high-pommeled Spanish style 
of saddle (designed for a lancer) that the Snakes had 
adopted. Women and children continued to use these sad- 
dles, but warriors preferred a simple leather pad that 
allowed greater mobility. ^^ 

Guns and horses transformed Blackfoot society at the 
same time as they altered the balance of power on the 
northern plains.^'' Newly armed, the Blackfeet and their 
allies took the offensive against the Snakes. Even with 
horses the Snakes could not hold their own against the 
gun-packing Blackfeet-Cree- Assiniboine forces. They aban- 
doned Red Deer Valley to the Piegans and retreated 
southwest. 27 The Piegans led the Blackfoot drive from the 
North Saskatchewan near the Eagle Hills to the South 
Saskatchewan. 28 

In 1781 smallpox hit the Snakes and the Blackfeet. The 
pandemic broke out in Spanish settlements in the south- 
west and spread north rapidly along well-established 
routes of communication. The same year a Piegan war 
party fell on a silent Snake village, but when they ripped 
open the tipis they found only dead and dying. Recoiling 
in horror from the scene, the Piegan warriors carried the 
disease back to their own village: as Saukampee said, "We 
had no belief that one Man could give it to another, any 
more than a wounded Man could give his wound to 
another." The Blackfeet lost between one-third and one- 
half of their population to the dread disease, and the war 
against the Snakes was interrupted for two or three winters 
as the survivors concentrated on searching for food: "Our 
hearts were low and dejected, and we shall never again 
be the same people," said Saukampee. ^"^ 

Devastated, the Piegans considered making peace with 
the Snakes. The Snakes had been equally hard hit. Shortly 

25. Secoy, Changing Military Patterns on the Great Plains, pp. 16-20, 53, 
61-62; Thwaites, ed.. Original Journals of Lewis and Clark, vol. 3, p. 
21; cf. Burpee, ed., "An Adventurer from Hudson Bay," pp. 110-111. 

26. Lewis, The Effect of White Contact upon Blackfoot Culture, passim, esp. 
54 ff; Mark A. Judy, "Powder Keg on the Upper Missouri: Sources 
of Blackfoot Hostility, 1730-1810," American Indian Quarterly 11 (Spring 
1987): 130 and passim. 

27. Ewers, The Blackfeet, p. 22; Fowler, "Cultural Ecology and Culture 
History of the Eastern Shoshone," pp. 50-51. 

28. Lewis, The Effects of White Contact upon Blackfoot Culture, pp. 13-14, 53. 

29. Ewers, The Blackfeet, pp. 28-29; Glover, ed., David Thompson's Nar- 
rative, pp. 49, 245-248. 



after the epidemic, the Snake bands in the Bow River coun- 
try withdrew south, leaving the area free for Piegan oc- 
cupation. But when Snakes slaughtered five lodges of 
Piegans— and left snake heads painted on sticks as proof 
of their responsibility— the Blackfeet resolved to "revenge 
the death of our people and make the Snake Indians feel 
the effects of our guns." They began a relentless campaign 
that would drive the Snakes, Kutenais, and Flatheads from 
the plains. At the same time they began to capture and 
adopt Snake women and children to recoup their losses 
(medical studies indicate that women of child-bearing age 
were more susceptible to smallpox and suffered a higher 
mortality rate). The Snakes still needed war captives to sus- 
tain their southern trade, but found instead that they had 
become the targets of enemy slave raiders. During the late 
1780s Edward Umfreville reported that all the Indians 

known by the Hudson's Bay Company crossed the Rockies 
every summer to raid the Snakes: "In these war excursions 
many female slaves are taken, who are sold to the Cana- 
dian traders, and taken down to Canada . . ."^° 

In the face of the sustained Blackfoot onslaught, the 
Snakes relinquished their foothold on the plains of 
southern Alberta and northern Montana and retreated into 
the Rocky Mountain ranges in Wyoming and Idaho. 
Saukampee told David Thompson that all the lands held 
by the Blackfeet tribes in 1787 were formerly held by the 
Kutenais, Hatheads, and Snakes, but that those tribes were 
"now driven across the Mountains." Large war parties of 
mounted gunmen established and maintained Blackfoot 
dominance on the northern plains. A war chief named 
Kutenai Appe led 250 warriors on an expedition against 
the Snakes in 1787.31 

By the end of the century the Blackfeet had pushed 
south more than four hundred miles and dominated the 
territory from the North Saskatchewan River to the north- 
ern tributaries of the Missouri. Some Snake bands prob- 
ably remained on the Wyoming and Montana plains as late 
as 1790, but most had retreated west across the Rockies 
by the beginning of the new century. Trader Peter Fidler 
noted in his journal in 1792 that the Snakes used to inhabit 
the area around Eagle Hills, Saskatchewan, 

but since the Europeans have penetrated into these parts & sup- 
plied the surrounding nations with fire arms, those Indians have 
gradually receded SW wards, & at this time there is not a tent 
of that nation to be found within 500 miles. 

Another trader on the Saskatchewan, Duncan McGillivray, 
described the Snakes in 1795 as "a tribe who inhabit the 
Rocky Mountains unacquainted with the productions of 
Europe, and Strangers to those who convey them to this 
Country." The Atsinas, under considerable attack them- 
selves from the Crees, added to the pressure: McGillivray 
heard that Atsina and Blood warriors had killed twenty- 
seven Snakes that spring. ^^ 

A Shoshone woiiiaii 

30. Ewers, The Blackfeet, pp. 29-30; Glover, ed., David Thouipson's Nar- 
rative, p. 247; Judy, "Powder Keg on the Upper Missouri," pp. 
136-137; Haines, Plains Indians, pp. 130-132; Edward Umfreville, The 
Fur Trade of Hudson's Bai/ (London, 1790), pp. 176-177, quoted in Secoy, 
Changing Militanj Patterns on the Great Plains, p. 5b. 

31. Ewers, The Blackfeet, pp. 172, 318; idem., "hitertribal Warfare, ' p. 
403; Josephy, Tlw Nez Perce Indians, p. 31; Glover, ed., David Tlionip- 
son's Narrative, pp. 240, 258, 269. 

32. Ewers, The Blackfeet, p. 30; Judy, "Powder Keg on the Upper 
Missouri," p. 137; Glover, ed., David Thompson's Narrative, pp. 240, 
254; Fidler quote is in Alice M. Johnston, ed., Saskatchewan lounuds 
ami Correspondence (London: Hudson's Bay Record Society, 19ti7), p. 
274n; Ray, Indians in the Fur Trade, pp. '■M, '-'S; I'homas F. Schil/, "The 



SUMMER 1991 

The first years of the new century brought no relief to 
the Snakes. Smallpox ravaged the northern plains again 
in the fall of 1801, and war parties on the Saskatchewan 
continued to go out against the Snakes. During November 
and December, 1800, almost all the Blackfeet around 
Chesterfield House went to war "against their old enemies 
the Snake Indians," and the following February one hun- 
dred Fall (Atsina) Indians set off to war against them. The 
Piegans now scorned their once-formidable Snake enemies. 
According to Nez Perce tradition Nez Perce warriors wiped 
out a large Snake war party about this time. After the 
Snakes killed a peace delegation following the victory, the 
Nez Perce chief Broken Arm led a punitive expedition that 
netted another forty-two Snake scalps during September, 
1805, before peace initiatives resumed. ^^ 

Mounting pressure from the Crows and Arapahoes 
helped push the Snakes off the plains by the end of the 
century and kept them off during the next. As the Snakes 
withdrew the Crows moved into the country of the Big 
Horn and upper Yellowstone, taking possession of one of 
the richest areas in the northern plains, and the Arapahoes 
moved west into the Green River Valley in the first years 
of the nineteenth century. ^^ 

By 1805, from fur trade accounts, all the Snake groups 
had been driven west of the mountains. They now resided 
in the mountain valleys of western Wyoming, Idaho, and 
southwestern Montana and ventured east only to hunt. 
They enjoyed occasional amicable relations with the 
Arapahoes and Crows, but any hopes of recovering their 
lands east of the mountains were gone. French-Canadian 
trader Antoine Larocque found twelve lodges of Snakes 
with the Crows in 1805, but they were only a remnant of 
a tribe that had been destroyed, desperate to open direct 
trade with the village tribes of the Missouri. But those tribes 
also warred on the Snakes: when Lewis and Clark traveled 
west they found the Hidatsas sending war parties to the 

Gros Ventres and the Canadian Fur Trade 1754-1831," American In- 
dian Quarterly 12 (Winter 1988); 49-50; Arthur S. Morton, ed., The Jour- 
nal of Duncan McGillivray of the North West Company, at Fort George 
on the Saskatchewan, 1794-1795 (Toronto: Macmillan Co. of Canada, 
Ltd., 1929), p. 69. 

33. Johnson, ed., Saskatchewan Journals and Correspondence, pp. 276, 278, 
285, 294, 306; Coues, ed., New Light on the Early History of the Greater 
Northwest, vol. 2, p. 726; Thwaites, ed.. Original Journals of Lewis and 
Clark, vol. 5, pp. 24, 28, 106-107, 113; Haines, The NezPerces, pp. 25-29. 

34. Colin G. Calloway, " 'The Only Way Open to Us:' The Crow Strug- 
gle for Survival in the Nineteenth Century," North Dakota History 53 
(Summer 1986): 26; Hyde, Indians of the High Plains, pp. 149-150, 195, 
197-198; Thwaites, ed.. Original Journals of Lewis and Clark, vol. 1, p. 
220; vol. 5, p. 270. 

Rocky Mountains against the Snakes, and were told the 
Arikaras had learned the art of bead-making from Snake 
captives. 3^ 

West of the mountains Lewis and Clark found that 
many of the Columbian tribes were also hostile to the 
Snakes. ^^ The Snakes kept in touch with their Comanche 
cousins and with Spanish traders in New Mexico, but these 
contacts did not supply them with the guns they so 
desperately needed. Cameahwait blamed the Spaniards at 
Santa Fe for denying guns to his people, 

thus leaving them defenseless and an easy prey to their blood- 
thirsty neighbours to the East of them, who being in posses- 
sion of firearms hunt them up and murder them without rispect 
to sex or age and plunder them of their horses on all occasions. 

The Lemhis were compelled to remain in the mountains 
for most of the year, subsisting on fish, berries, and roots. 
Cameahwait, "with his ferce eyes and lank jaws grown 
meager for the want of food," said that if only his people 
had guns they could live in the buffalo country on equal 
terms with their enemies. The Snakes were desperate for 
the American trade Lewis and Clark offered: "They felt 
sure that the strangers were in league with our enemies 
and that together they were coming to attack us," but on 
the urging of their chiefs they resolved to "make friends 
with these strangers who are so terribly armed. "^^ 

In 1805 the Piegans prevented David Thompson from 
crossing the mountains and opening direct trade with the 
western tribes. A year later they attacked Lewis' party 
when the captain told them he planned to open trade with 
their enemies in the west. Thompson succeeded in breach- 
ing the Blackfoot dike the next year— although he had to 
buy off a 300-strong Piegan war party in order to reach the 
Kutenais— and the subsequent flow of firearms across the 
mountains transformed the balance of powers in the 
Rockies. But during 1808 Alexander Henry the Younger 
reported the Piegans were still raiding at will on the horse 
herds of the Snakes and Flatheads who had no firearms 
and were easy prey.^^ According to tradition, Blackfeet at- 

35. Hyde, Indians of the High Plains, pp. 156, 181-185, 195; Fowler, 
"Cultural Ecology and Culture History," p. 58; "Larocque's 
'Yellowstone Journal,' " p. 220; Thwaites, ed.. Original journals of 
Leu'is and Clark, vol. 1, pp. 210, 249, 272; vol. 6, p. 103. 

36. Thwaites, ed.. Original Journals of Lewis and Clark, vol. 4, pp. 331, 362; 
vol. 5, pp. 6, 24, 106, 270. 

37. "Larocque's 'Yellowstone Journal,' " pp. 189, 220; Thwaites, ed., 
Original Journals of Lewis and Clark, vol. 6, pp. 106-107; vol. 2, pp. 
383-384; Clark, Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies, p. 207. 

38. "Narrative of the Expedition to the Kootenae and Flat Bow Indian 
Countries . . ., by D. Thompson," mss. held by the Royal Com- 
monwealth Society, London, n.p.; Glover, David Thompson's Narrative, 



tacked Washakie's village when he was four or five, kill- 
ing his father and forcing his family to take refuge with 
the Lemhi Shoshonis.^'' Recurrent raids by the Blackfeet, 
Atsinas, Assiniboines, and Hidatsas kept the Lemhis west 
of the Continental Divide. They only ventured into the 
high plains to hunt buffalo in company with Flatheads and 
Nez Perces who went regularly into the Three Forks coun- 
try and the Yellowstone.^*' 

The nineteenth century brought the Snakes more 
changes, but little respite. The American fur trade pushed 
its way into eastern Shoshone territory and the Snakes 
maintained their contacts with the tribes of the southern 
plains. In 1826, Peter Skene Ogden of the Hudson's Bay 
Company met a group of "Plains Snake," and found them 
more showy in dress and appearance than the poor Snakes 
of his quarter, and well supplied with both Spanish and 
American goods. ^^ Nevertheless, neighboring tribes con- 
tinued to prey upon Snake horse herds and villages. 

Hostilities with the Nez Perces and their Cayuse allies 
persisted through the middle of the century. *2 The 
Blackfeet continued to cross the Rockies to raid deep into 



pp. 273, 277-279, 296-297, 305-306; Thwaites, ed.. Original Journals 
of Lewis and Clark, vol. 5, pp. 222-226; Coues, ed.. New Light, vol. 
2, p. 526; Lewis, The Effect of White Contact upon Blackfoot Culture, p. 20. 
Morgan, ed., "Washakie and the Shoshoni," Annals of Wyoming 25 
(July 1953): 146n; Hebard, Washakie, pp. 51-52. 
40. Haines, Plains bidians, p. 133; Thwaites, ed.. Original journals of Lewis 
and Clark, vol. 2, p. 374. 

E.E. Rich, Peter Skene Ogden's Snake Country journals, 1824-26 (Lon- 
don: Hudson Bay Record Society, 1950), p. 178. The Eastern Snakes 
were visiting the Comanche as late as 1860, Morgan, ed., "Washakie 
and the Shoshoni," Anmls of Wyoming 11 (October 1955): 201. In 1821 
Jacob Fowler camped with a great multi-tribal vOlage on the Arkansas 
River of some four hundred lodges of Kiowas, Comanches, Chey- 
ennes, Arapahoes, Kiowa-Apaches, and Snakes, possessing more 
than twenty thousand horses, but Fowler's "Snakes" may have been 
a band of Comanches. Elliott Coues, ed.. The journal of Jacob Fowler 
(Minneapolis: Ross & Haines, Inc., 1965), p. 55. 
Josephy, The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest, p. 55; 
Thomas R. Garth, "Early Nineteenth Century Tribal Relations in the 
Columbia Plateau," Southwestern journal of Anthropology 20 (Spring 
1964): 48-51; "Remarks on the Countries westward of the Rocky 
Mountains ... by D[avid] T[hompson], 1813," mss. in the Royal 
Commonwealth Society, London, n.p.; Frederick Merk, ed.. Fur Trade 
and Empire: George Simpson's journal (Cambridge: Harvard University 
Press, 1968), p. 55. 



Shoshone tribal h'lulers sitliii;^ jor a portrait. Washakie ;s /// ///(• center of the first roir 



SUMMER 1991 

Snake territory, carrying off horses, women, and scalps. '*3 
Crows and Snakes clashed intermittently, although the two 
tribes increasingly became allies against common enemies.** 
As sources of game and buffalo became depleted, and 
displaced tribes drew closer together in competition for 
diminishing hunting grounds, the Snakes also found 
themselves in growing conflict with the Cheyennes, 
Arapahoes, and Teton Sioux who ranged the North Platte 
and even began to raid west of the Rockies.'*^ 

During the 1830s, trapper Zenas Leonard summed up 
the Snakes' plight: 

The Snake Indians, or as some call them, the Shoshonies, were 
once a powerful nation, possessing a glorious hunting ground 
on the east side of the mountains; but they, like the Flatheads, 
have been almost annihilated by the revengeful Blackfeet, who 
being supplied with firearms were enabled to defeat all Indian 
opposition. Their nation has been entirely broken up and scat- 
tered throughout all this region.** 

By this time, however, the Snakes already were enter- 
ing a new era of adjustment and change. American fur 
trade became an integral part of Snake life and American 
guns enabled Snakes to confront the Blackfeet, Crows, and 

Sioux on equal terms. Like other tribes pushed to the wall 
by more powerful enemies, they embraced growing Ameri- 
can power in the west as an ally and, under the leader- 
ship of Mawoma and Washakie, enjoyed a period of 
renewed tribal vitality. Indian agents in the mid-century 
reported that Washakie's people ranged from the Wind 
River and South Pass as far east as the North Platte and 
Fort Laramie, though they went east to hunt only in the 
company of Bannocks or other allies.*^ 

Change and challenge continued to confront the 
eastern Shoshones after their confinement on what became 
the Wind River Reservation. Disease continued to thin their 
numbers.*^ Sioux and other enemies continued to raid their 
homeland, 4^ and Northern Arapaho presence and White 
American pressures demanded continued adjustment. 
That the Shoshones survived and adapted through these 
times of hardship and change is hardly surprising since 
their ancestors had experienced equally dramatic changes 
on the Snake frontier for more than a century before Lewis 
and Clark struggled into their territory to seek their help 
across the mountains. 

43. Ewers, The Blackfeet, pp. 124-126; Rich, ed., Ogden's Snake Country 
Journals, pp. 147, 149; Francis D. Haines, Jr., ed., The Snake Country 
Expedition of 1830-1831: John Work's Field journal (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1971), pp. 18, 58-59, 100; Report of the Commis- 
sioner of Indian Affairs, 1854, p. 194. 

44. Kenneth A. Spaulding, ed.. On the Oregon Trail: Robert Stuart's Journey 
of Discovery, 1812-1813 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953), 
p. 98; Haines, ed., Osborne Russell's Journal of a Trapper, p. 70; Morgan, 
ed., "Washakie and the Shoshoni," Annals of Wyoming 26 (July 1954): 
179; Donald Jackson and Mary Lee Spence, eds.. The Expeditions of 
John Charles Fremont vol. 1 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 
1970-1984), p. 222; Kate L. Gregg and John Francis McDermott, eds., 
Prairie and Mountain Sketches. By Matthew C. Field (Norman: Univer- 
sity of Oklahoma Press, 1957), p. 141; Narrative of the Adventures of 
Zenas Leonard (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, Inc., 1966), p. 26. 

45. Chittenden and Richardson, eds.. Life, Letters and Travels of Father 
De Smet, vol. 3, p. 948; Gregg and McDermott, eds., Prairie and Moun- 
tain Sketches, p. 88; Jackson and Spence, eds.. Expeditions of John Charles 
Fremont, vol. 1, pp. 462-463; LeRoy R. Hafen, ed.. Life in the Far West 
by George Frederick Ruxton (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1959), p. 76; John Stands in Timber and Margot Liberty, Cheyenne 
Memories (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1972), ch. 9. 

46. Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard, p. 25. 

47. Shimkin, "Eastern Shoshone," p. 309; Morgan, ed., "Washakie and 
the Shoshoni," Annals of Wyoming 25 (July 1953): 150, 185; 27 (Oc- 
tober 1955): 79, 86, 199-200; Stewart, "The Shoshoni," p. 3. 

48. D.B. Shimkin, "Dynamics of Recent Wind River Shoshoni History," 
American Anthropologist, n.s. (1942): 451-462. The Shoshones and Ban- 
nocks said smallpox killed half their people in 1850, and measles 
claimed 152 lives— many children— among the Wind River Shoshones 
in 1897. Clark, The Indian Sign Language, p. 350; Report of the Commis- 
sioner for Indian Affairs, 1897, p. 314. 

49. e.g.: Rocky Mountain News, June 6, 1872, p. 2, c. 1; June 14, 1874, p. 
4, c. 3; July 9, 1874, p. 1, c. 1; November 3, 1876, p. 1, c. 2. 

COLIN G. CALLOWAY is Associate Professor of History at the 
University of Wyoming. A British citizen, he has taught in 
England and New England, and worked at the Newberrx/ Library 
before coming to Wyoming. L{is publicatiotis include: Crown and 
Calumet: British-Indian Relations, 1783-1815 (University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1987); New Directions in American Indian 
History, editor (University of Oklahoma Press, 1988); The 
Western Abenakis of Vermont, 1600-1800 (University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1990); and Dawnland Encounters: Indians 
and Europeans in Northern New England (University Press 
of New England, 1991). He is currently zvorking on a study of 
American Indians during the American Revolution. 



Exploring the Wind Rivers in 1833 

by James R. Wolf 

Cnptnni Bciijiuiiiii Boinicvilk 



SUMMER 1991 

As they crossed the Continental Divide, thousands of 
California-bound travelers cast their eyes northward to "Fre- 
mont's Peak." They were remembering John C. Fremont, 
whose 1842 explorations of the Wind River Range were 
described in a widely-circulated official report.^ The first 
high country explorer, however, was not Fremont. That 
honor goes to Captain Benjamin Bonneville, whose 
geographical discoveries of 1833 earn him the greatest 
respect. Ironically, the mountain that often went into 
emigrants' diaries under Fremont's name was one that had 
been climbed by the neglected Bonneville instead. 

Wyoming was not entirely unknown when Bonneville 
headed westward in 1832. The country north of the Wind 
Rivers had been reconnoitered a few times in the first 
decades of the century. The gap at South Pass had been 
discovered in 1812. Publicized after Jedediah Smith's 
journey beyond the divide in 1824, it had become a familiar 
route of travel for the fur traders. ^ 

No doubt the trappers rode high up the valleys in 
search of beaver, but their written records are sparse. 
Perhaps some climbed a Wind Rivers peak or two for sport, 
but one searches in vain for evidence of such alpine aspira- 
tions. The earliest good record is that of our subject. 

Bonneville, though born in France in 1796, was raised 
in New York, where he attended the Military Academy at 
West Point. After graduation in 1815 he served many years 
at posts in the West— at Fort Smith, Arkansas; San An- 
tonio, Texas; and elsewhere— achieving the rank of cap- 
tain along the way.^ 

A spirit of curiosity and adventure led him to plan an 
expedition to explore portions of the Oregon Territory. Re- 
questing a leave of absence, he explained: 

Observing, that our country men are daily becoming more 
desirous of understanding the true situation and resources of 
that portion of our territories, lying to the north of Mexico and 
west of the Rocky-Mountains, has determined me, to offer my 
services for the advancement of that object ... 1 would there, 
by observations, establish prominent points of that country, 
ascertain the general courses &c of the principal rivers, the loca- 
tion of the Indian tribes and their habits, visit the American 

1. The 1842 expedition is reviewed in James R. Wolf, "Fremont in 
the Wind Rivers," Annals of Wyoming 60 (Fall 1988): 2-11. 

2. Merrill ]. Mattes, "Jackson Hole, Crossroads of the Western Fur Trade, 
1807-1829," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 37 (April 1946): 87-108; Philip 
Ashton Rollins, The Discovery of the Oregon Trail (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1935); and Dale L. Morgan, Jedediah Smith and the 
Opening of the West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1953). 

3. Washington Irving, The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, Edgeley W. 
Todd, ed. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), p. xxii. 

and British establishments, make myself acquainted with their 
manner of trade and intercourse with the Indians, finally, 
endeavor to develop every advantage the country affords and 
by what means they may most readily be opened to the enter- 
prise of our citizens.^ 

The proposal was well received, with Bonneville 
authorized on July 29, 1831, to carry out his designs of ex- 
ploring the country to the Rocky Mountains and beyond. 
During the next several months he obtained financial sup- 
port from merchants in the fur business, hired dozens of 
trappers and other men, and purchased necessary scien- 
tific instruments. He also obtained wheeled wagons to 
carry the trade goods and other supplies the party would 
need— these wagons being the first such vehicles to cross 
the Continental Divide. ^ 

The expedition traveled west along the Platte and 
Sweetwater rivers during the spring of 1832. After going 
through South Pass on July 24, they proceeded northwest 
to the Green River, near present-day Daniel, where they 
established a fortified camp. They later continued on to 
winter quarters on the Salmon River in Idaho, not return- 
ing to their Green River caches until July 13, 1833.^ 

During his first year in the Rockies Bonneville learned 
much about the fur trade, the Indians, and, not least, the 
geography of the country. The Wind River Mountains, he 
reported back to Washington, were said to be the highest in 
the country. "They are extensive and extremely difficult 
to be gone through, and are always turned.'"^ This is a most 
interesting observation because it implies that the noted 
trappers he had encountered— Fitzpatrick, Bridger, and all 
the rest— knew nothing of the high country, or at least had 
never crossed the range there. ^ For an adventurer with an 

4. Bonneville to Maj. Gen. Alexander Macomb, May 21, 1831, quoted 
in Todd, Bonneville, p. xxv. 

5. Todd, Bonneville, pp. xxvi-xxviii, 46, 379-380. The controversy among 
historians regarding the "true motives" of the expedition is reviewed 
in William H. Goetzmann, Exploration and Empire (New York: Knopf, 
1966), pp. 148-150; and Todd, Bonneville, pp. xxxix-xli. 

6. Todd, Bonneville, pp. 39-50, 72-79, 149. As Todd notes, other traders 
sometimes called the fort "Bonneville's Folly," but the fact that many 
later rendezvous were held in the vicinity argues for Bonneville's 
wisdom in choosing the site. Charles Larpenteur's recollection that 
Bonneville's men were on the Green River on July 8 is probably off 
by a few days. Forty Years a Fur Trader (Chicago: R.R. Donnelley and 
Sons, 1933), p. 26. 

7. Bonneville to Macomb, July 29, 1833, quoted in Todd, Bormeville, p. 388. 

8. One early record for the range— between Union Pass and South 
Pass— is worthy of note. William Drummond Stewart's novel, Ed- 
ward Warren (Missoula, Montana; Mountain Press Publishing Co., 
1986), p. 202, mentions a crossing to "a tributary of the Popoagee, 



explorer's bent, this must have seemed a challenge worthy 
of pursuit. 

Bonneville wrote these words on July 29, while leading 
a party through South Pass and then northward to the 
head of navigation on the Bighorn River. There the furs 
obtained to date could be loaded on boats to be floated 

not at right angles with the great mountain line, but slanting towards 
the south collaterally." If this is factual, it would seem to refer to 
the North Popo Agie below the Cirque of the Towers. The descrip- 
tion is so poor, though, as to belie personal observation. It may be 
that a mountain man had made the trip, discovering the hidden gap 
(Jackass Pass) that connects Big Sandy Lake with the Cirque of the 
Towers and this one nugget of the story found its way into the novel. 
Edward Warren was not published until 1854, so the information could 
have been conveyed to Stewart on any of his many summer trips 
to Wyoming between 1833 and 1843. Some corroboration can be found 
in another work by Stewart, in which the author describes a pass 
across the mountains to the Sweetwater, with "broken ground, torn 
up by torrents ... on either side." Altozvan, vol. 1 (New York: Harper 
and Brothers, 1846), p. 121. 

A second account describes Old Bill Williams' travel in 1842 from 
Bull Lake westward over the mountains— which at first suggests a 
route through or near Hay Pass, south of Fremont Peak. W.T. 
Hamilton, My Sixty Years on the Plains (New York: Forest and Stream 
Publishing Company, 1905), pp. 81-86. But because the party crossed 
to the west fork of the Green River, not the New Fork, and because 
they then descended twenty-five miles to a beautiful place "to be 
awed by the lofty peaks," the route must in fact have been through 
Union Pass. 

A trail across the mountains was familiar to the Indians, at least 
as of 1877, if not to the trappers. It is the path, now called the 
Washakie Trail, which crosses the Continental Divide at an eleva- 
tion of 11,600 feet, connecting the East Fork River to the Little Wind 
River drainage. Hayden's men scouted it from the west, descending 
some distance on the Wind River side. Their account is the first reliable 
report of a feasible route over the range. P.M. Endlich, "Report on 
the Geology of the Sweetwater District," in F.V. Hayden, Eleventh 
Annual Report of the U.S. Geological and Geographic Survey of the Ter- 
ritories (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1879), pp. 
24, 59. 

This tardiness in exploring the high country is understandable. 
After all, the mountain men had sought the lowest passes between 
beaver streams, not the highest peaks. They were not alpinists. So 
it may have been a simple truth when Charles Preuss described 
himself as a "more experienced mountaineer" than Kit Carson, Lucien 
Maxwell, or the others accompanying Fremont in 1842. Thelma S. 
Guild and Harvey L. Carter, Kit Carson: A Pattern for Heroes (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1984), pp. 104-105. 

Travelers along the Sweetwater rarely, if ever, left the well-worn 
path through South Pass. However, in an account written many years 
later, one emigrant of 1849 claimed to have taken a shortcut through 
"the highest mountains in the Wind River range." It is inconceivable 
that his party took their mules over Sioux Pass, fifteen miles southeast 
of Wind River Peak, but they could not have been close to Bonneville's 
route. Reuben Cole Shaw, Across the Plains in forty-Nine (Farmland, 
Indiana: W.C. West, 1896), pp. 73-89. 

downriver to Saint Louis. His route took him past several 
identifiable landmarks, starting with "the great Tar 
spring," eight miles southeast of Lander.^ He also transited 
a low pass in the Owl Creek Mountains as well as Bad Pass 
near the Wyoming-Montana border. ^^ 

After the furs were loaded Bonneville set out after more 
beaver. One of his parties was ambushed and suffered a 
loss of its traps. This misfortune threatened the success 
of the fall hunt. Even worse, he learned from some wan- 
dering Snake Indians that two bands of Crows were 

9. Todd, Bonneville, pp. 172-173, and map opposite p. 154. According 
to the recollection of James Clyman, Jed Smith's party, including the 
narrator, discovered the great tar spring on a branch of the Popo Agie 
in 1824— "an oil springe neare the main Stream whose surface was 
completely covered over with oil." Charles L. Camp, ed., James 
Clyman, Frontiersman (Portland, Oregon: Champoeg Press, 1960), pp. 
21, 310. A contemporary reference appears in Daniel T. Potts' letter 
of July 16, 1826, in which he describes "an Oil Spring [in the Wind 
River Valley], which discharges 60 or 70 gallons of pure oil per day." 
Donald McKay Frost, Notes on General Ashley, The Overland Trail, and 
South Pass (Barre, Massachusetts: Barre Gazette, 1960), p. 58. 
Osborne Russell gives a good account of the spring in 1836, foumal 
of a Trapper (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1955), p. 57. For 
a fuller description see Hayden, Eleventh Annual Report, p. 15. Harry 
Ptasynski, Dallas Dome— Derby Dome Area, in Wyoming Geological 
Association Guidebook to the Southwest Wind River Basin, 1957, pp. 
127-131 (cited at Henry A. Kirk, "Sixty Days To and In Yellowstone 
Park," Annals of Wyoming 44 (Spring 1972): 12), reviews the history 
and geology of the area of the spring, now known as Dallas Oil Field. 
10. Todd, Bonneville, pp. 174-177. The first pass, which Irving called "the 
gap of the Littlehorn Mountain," is about fifteen miles west of Wind 
River Canyon, which is between Boysen Reservoir and Thermopolis. 
"Lit. Horn Mountain" appears on the Bonneville map where the Owl 
Creek Mountains are located. The gap is at 6,244 feet, with rapid rises 
to higher elevations east and west; it later became the route for the 
Thermopolis-Lander road. N.H. Darton, Geology of the Owl Creek 
Mountains, Sen. Doc. 219 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing 
Office, 1906), Plate I and p. 11. 

Irving also refers to a passage of the "Bighorn Mountains," which 
can be identified both by the text and Bonneville map as including 
today's Pryor Mountains. The boats could be loaded below the rapids 
of Bighorn Canyon, at the mouth of Grapevine Creek. The route 
through the Bighorn Mountains, bypassing Bighorn Canyon by way 
of Bad Pass, is described precisely by Nathaniel Wyeth, who was 
traveling in tandem with Bonneville. F.G. Young, ed., "The Cor- 
respondence and Journals of Nathaniel J. Wyeth, 1831-6," Sources 
of the Histon/ of Oregon, vol. I (1899), pp. 207-209. Several prior trips 
over the same trail are recorded in the literature of the fur trade. Ed- 
win C. Bearss, Big Horn National Recreation Area (Washington, D.C.: 
Department of the Interior, 1970), pp. 59-86; Dale L. Morgan, ed.. 
The West of William F. Ashley (Denver, Colorado: Old West Publishing 
Company, 1963), pp. 126-130, 295-297; and Keith Algier, "The Wind- 
Big Horn River and the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade," .Auiiiils of Wyo- 
ming 55 (Spring I'-W): 51-55. 



SUMMER 1991 

An 1865 map of what is today western Wifowin^, Idaho and Montana. In the center is the Wind River Valley. 



"marching upon him" and could place him in even greater 
peril. To avoid a confrontation he turned south, past the 
Owl Creeks and into the valley of the Wind River." 

The return to the Wind River set the stage for the 
mountain exploration. ^^ The practical problem facing the 
commander was the need for some more traps, to replace 
those which had been stolen. Bonneville selected three 
men to accompany him on his ride to get the traps— a 
hazardous expedition through the defiles of the Wind River 
Mountains to the caches at the fort on the Green River." 

The trip started with the ford of Wind River a little 
above its mouth. This is near Riverton, where the Wind 
and Popo Agie rivers join to form the north-flowing 
Bighorn. 14 The party then started up the Popo Agie, toward 

11. Todd, Bonneville, pp. 178-185. 

12. The only record of this exploration is Washington Irving's account. 
As editor of another mountain man's narrative, LeRoy Hafen asserted 
that the Irving book "is adequate as primary source material for the 
fur trade historian. It is impossible to determine what is historical 
fact based on Bonneville's now-lost diary, and what is Irving's literary 
elaboration." Warren Angus Ferris, Life in the Rocky Mountains, rev. 
ed., (Denver, Colorado: Old West Publishing Co., 1983), p. 19. With 
respect to the ascent of the Wind Rivers, though, the facts presented 
here point to Bonneville's care in compiling information and Irving's 
absolute fidelity to the original document. Although there are some 
understandable gaps in the narrative, almost every textual statement 
by Irving is either verifiable or at least consistent with the topography 
examined by the author in 1988. (The sole exception is the remark 
that Bonneville at one point hung his coat on the bushes; at the in- 
dicated elevation, woody plants are too diminutive for this use). In 
a similar vein, Edgeley Todd concludes, Bonneinlle, p. xlvi, "that when 
Irving makes a statement [about geography and terrain] he should 
be heeded until certain evidence proves the contrary." Incidentally, 
the diary may yet turn up. The mystery of its disappearance has been 
reviewed carefully by John F. McDermott, in "Washington Irving and 
the Journal of Captain Bonneville," Mississippii Valley Historical Review 
43 (December 1956): 459-467. 

The authenticity of the map was confirmed in a letter dated 
August 24, 1857, at "Gila River, N.M." from Bonneville himself to 
Lt. Gouverneur K. Warren. According to Bonneville, the early edi- 
tions of Irving's book contain "maps of my making." Carl I. Wheat, 
Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. 2 (San Francisco: Institute of 
Historical Cartography, 1958), p. 159. Bonneville's cartography has 
received high praise. Todd, Bonneville, p. xlii. 

13. Todd, Bonneville, p. 185. None of the captain's companions can be 
identified by name. 

14. Our text follows Bonneville's own usage (in his letter of September 
30, 1835, to Secretary of War Lewis Cass) as well as Irving's. Todd, 
Bonneville, pp. 172, 185-186, 391. The designation "Wind River" con- 
ventionally refers these days to the waterway extending another forty 
miles downstream to Wind River Canyon. This seems to have been 
William H. Ashley's concept in 1825. Morgan, West of Ashley, pp. 130, 
296-297; Daniel Potts made the point more clearly in 1826, when he 
stated that the stream loses the name "Wind River" while it is run- 

Lander. If they were to continue this way, and then around 
the range to South Pass, a great detour would be necessary. 
From the current location at 43° OO'N, they would have 
to drop down to 42°25' at the pass, and then return to 42° 
55' at the Green River camp. If they could find a way 
through the mountains, they would need only travel an 
airline distance of eighty-five miles, a savings of some fifty 
miles compared to the ride otherwise required. ^^ 

Even today's Lander (42° 50') was too far south. Bon- 
neville, therefore, led his party about due west, along the 
Little Wind River. ^^ His precise location can be fixed by his 
reference to some "hot springs of considerable magnitude 
. . . one . . . about twenty-five yards in diameter, and so 
deep that the water was of a bright green color." This land- 
mark, now called Washakie Hot Springs, is situated east 
of Fort Washakie, on the road to Ethete.^^ 

ning north, after discharging through a picturesque small mountain 
(the Owl Creek Mountains). Frost, Notes on General Ashley, p. 58. The 
confusion is evident on David H. Burr's 1839 "Map of the United 
States of America," reproduced by Morgan at p. 226, which records 
"Wind R." above the Popo Agie and "Big Horn River" below Bad 
Pass, leaving the name of the midsection ambiguous. See also Dee 
Linford, Wyoming Stream Names (Cheyenne: Wyoming Game and Fish 
Department, 1975), p. 33, "not clear where Wind River becomes the 

15. Bonneville could determine latitude with the sextant he had acquired. 
Letter to Macomb, July 18, 1831, quoted in Todd, Bonneville, p. xxvi. 
But his skill in use of the sextant might be questioned, inasmuch as 
the latitudes indicated on his published maps were inaccurate. See 
Hiram M. Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West, vol. 
I (Stanford: Academic Reprints, 1954), p. 401. 

16. Most geographic names used in this account are modern ones. Bon- 
neville knew the Little Wind River, for example, only as a branch 
of the Popo Agie. 

17. Todd, Bonneville, p. 187. Daniel Potts' letter of 1826 characterizes this 
spring as rising "to the south of the [Wind] river in a level plain of 
prairie, and occupies about two acres; that is not so hot as many others 
but I suppose to be boiling as the outer verge was nearly scalding 
hot. " Frost, Notes on General Ashley, p. 58. The feature shows up again 
in Hamilton, Sixty Years, p. 60, as "one of the grandest and most 
romantic warm springs to be found on this continent." Endlich, 
locating it "two miles distant (west) from Camp Brown [now Fort 
Washakie]," measured it as 315 feet in length, 250 feet in width, with 
an average depth of 18 feet and a temperature of 108°. F.V. Hayden, 
Eleventh Annual Report, p. 55. No pond of any kind can be found at 
Endlich's reported location. It is puzzling, though, because his ac- 
count matches the Bonneville map very nicely. Todd, Bonneinlle, map 
opposite p. 154. Another early description, placing Camp Brown cor- 
rectly "on the right bank of Little Wind River, just above the mouth 
of its north fork," reports the 110'' spring, with its remarkable prop- 
erties for bathing, as lying on the river, "two miles below the post." 
William A. Jones, Report Upon the Reconnaissance of Northwestern Wyo- 
ming (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1875), pp. 
10-11, and maps 13, 14. 



SUMMER 1991 

A first effort to cross the range, by heading up the 
South Fork of the Little Wind, was unsuccessful as 
"stupendous crags and precipices barred all progress. "^^ 
The men therefore retraced their steps a few miles. They 
were still too close to the mountains to pick out a route, 
but they recalled having earlier seen a gentle slope that ap- 
peared to rise without any break to the snowy region. Since 
the stream channel was hopeless, Bonneville sought out 
this ridge, which his party soon began to ascend with 

According to the record the ridge rises to "the brink 
of a deep and precipitous ravine, from the bottom of which 
rose a second slope, similar to the one they had just 
ascended." From the top of this second climb the moun- 
tains ahead were "shagged by frightful precipices, and 
seamed with longitudinal chasms, deep and dangerous." 
We may infer from this description that the explorers rode 
up the ridge between Crooked Creek and Trout Creek. 
From the bottomlands this route does appear to be a 
gradual and unbroken way to the mountains. This is 
deceiving, though, because the ridge terminates abruptly 
at a high point, at 9,252 feet, bordered by steep escarp- 
ments. Frustrated when they encountered this obstacle, 
they backed off, descending eastward, "by a rugged path, 
or rather fissure of the rocks," to the valley of Trout Creek 
at 8,250 feet. Continuing up the second gradual slope they 
climbed to the 9,550-foot pass to the west of Bald Moun- 
tain. The prospects from there could not have seemed 
bright. Everywhere they looked in their intended direction 
of travel, steep- walled cirques blocked the way.^^ 

Not yet willing to give up they turned south, spending 
the night in a "wild dell" which we can somewhat ar- 

18. Todd, Bonneville, p. 187. "About three miles above the debouchure 
of the North Fork [of the Little Wind River] the stream [South Fork 
of the Little Wind River] is confined to a narrow defile hemmed in 
by steep debris slopes terminated above in vertical walls of Car- 
boniferous limestone." Orestes St. John in F.V. Hay den. Twelfth An- 
nual Report of the U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, 
Part I (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883), p. 251. 

19. Todd, Bonneville, p. 188; U.S.G.S. Wind River Quadrangle (1952) and 
Moccasin Lake Quadrangle (1981); also, for the view west, the 
15-minute U.S.G.S. Moccasin Lake Quadrangle (1937). The interpreta- 
tion is also based upon careful examination of the view from U.S. 
287 south of Fort Washakie. There is another prominent ridge, just 
to the north of Crooked Creek; it does not terminate at the brink of 
a deep and precipitous ravine, but rather on a knoll with a 250-foot 
drop to Pie Lake. Moreover, had the party gone that way and then 
climbed the next slope to Marys Lake, they would almost certainly 
have found the way over the range at Washakie Pass. Another alter- 
native is the ridge south of Trout Creek. It does not lead to a steep- 

bitrarily identify as Dickinson Park.^" About all that is 
known about the next two days of the adventure is that 
they involved arduous climbing, sometimes along game 
trails "which, however, often took them to the brinks of 
fearful precipices, or led to rugged defiles, impassable for 
their horses." An educated guess can be made, though, 
since they ended up at an elevated valley where they found 
"two bright and beautiful little lakes, set like mirrors in 
the midst of stern and rocky heights, and surrounded by 
grassy meadows, inexpressibly refreshing to the eye." 

The two little lakes are the keys that unlock the 
geographic puzzle. They are diminutive members of the 
group called the Deep Creek Lakes. They can be identified, 
in preference to their larger neighbors, because they are 
above timberline (their elevation is 10,900 feet) and because 
they sit in a fairly flat basin (surrounded by grassy 
meadows) rather than in cirques or ravines. They fit not 
only the description recited above, but they lie on a logical 
route Bonneville had selected, and— most important— they 
tie in perfectly with the mountain climb that follows. 

While no doubt there were some false alarms along the 
way, we can picture the party traveling south from Bald 
Mountain. Each side valley they came to— Sand Creek, 
Ranger Creek, Dickinson Creek, Smith Lake Creek— ended 
in high- walled basins that blocked further progress. 
However, as they came around Dishpan Butte, the outlook 
improved. From there they could descend to the level 
valley of a large stream, with an unobstructed passage up 
the far side to the skyline; and they could hope for a 
similarly easy ride down the western slope of the range 
to the Green River. 

The valley below them was the North Fork of the Popo 
Agie, which they would have struck without difficulty- 
say, at an elevation of 8,750 feet. Turning upriver they rode 

faced brink, either; nor would there be a second gradual slope on 
which to continue. 

They chose a good route. Today it is the access route to Moc- 
casin Lake, except that the modern road contours at a lower eleva- 
tion to Trout Creek. Irving noted that the first ridge was "covered 
with coarse gravel interspersed with plates of freestone." The gravel 
and shale are evident in the cuts along the road. 
20. The "wild dell" might rather have been along Dickinson Creek or 
one of the narrow valleys leading westward. If they did not camp 
in Dickinson Park, they would have passed it the following day. From 
their perspective, an alternative route north to Moccasin Lake, in- 
stead of south to Dickinson Park, would not have seemed particularly 
promising, but had they scouted that option, they probably would 
have stumbled on the Indian trail to Washakie Pass. 


The route Bonneville took to s^et to Wind River Peak. 

southwest for three miles, past Sanford Park. Next they 
curved farther west toward the Cirque of the Towers. Their 
view of the cirque was largely obscured by the trees along 
the valley floor. What they could see, though, looked much 
like the other impassable cul-de-sacs; and, anyway, by this 
time the highlands farther south, as observed from Dish- 
pan Butte, must have been their settled destination. This 
was a missed opportunity as there is a gap, known as 
Jackass Pass, that connects the Cirque of the Towers to the 
Pacific drainage. It is hidden until one reaches the head 
of the amphitheater. Had they proceeded up the valley and 
discovered a way over Jackass Pass, their venture would 
have been a great success. ^i 

Bonneville and his men then climbed the ridge to the 
south, in forest, roughly on the modern Pinto Park Trail. 
They would have left that route after a mile (at 9,750 feet) 
so as to head more directlv toward the nearby Continen- 
tal Divide. Their path from that point, up a gently sloping 
valley in a southerly direction, is now part of the Ice Lakes 
Trail. After reaching the cluster of ponds called Bear Lakes, 
they would have ascended to the Deep Creek Lakes, with 

21. Todd, Bonneville, p. 188. U.S.C^S. Dickinson Park Quadrangle il'-)Sl) 
t)r Moccasin lake Qiiadrani;ic (1437). 



SUMMER 1991 

Smith Lake 

Viriv north from WimI River Peak 



towering summits looming overhead, where they made 
camp at the tarns mentioned above. ^^ 

The climax of the expedition was Bonneville's hike, 
with one of his companions, "hoping to gain a com- 
manding prospect, and discern some practicable route 
through this stupendous labyrinth." He succeeded in his 
first objective, as the mountain he climbed afforded as 
magnificent a view as might have been imagined. 

The mountain was Wind River Peak, its summit at 
13,192 feet, higher than any of its neighbors. To get there, 
Bonneville first passed Chimney Rock (12,653 feet), from 
which he beheld "gigantic peaks rising all around, and 
towering far into the snowy regions of the atmosphere." 
He "crossed a narrow intervening valley," the one hun- 
dred foot descent to the saddle connecting the knoll to the 
main summit. Scrambling over "eternal snows," the two 
men at length stood on the highest point. As Bonneville's 
chronicler commented, "he had undertaken a tremendous 
task; but the pride of man is never more obstinate than 
when climbing mountains."" 

22. Todd, Bonneville, pp. 188-189; U.S.G.S. Dickinson Park Quadrangle 
and Sweetwater Gap Quadrangle (1953); Joe Kelsey, Climbing and Hik- 
ing in the Wind River Mountains (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 
1980), p. 355. Minor variations are possible, such as following the 
Pinto Park Trail to its high point and then riding a mile southwest, 
over a ridge, to the Deep Creek Lakes. Irving's two beautiful lakes 
conceivably could be the uppermost Bear Lakes, but those would not 
offer the good pasturage mentioned in the account; nor would the 
party have been content to make camp there when a little additional 
ascent might show once and for all whether a passage over the moun- 
tains might be found. Another possibility is Deep Creek Lake, 10,577 
feet, and its downstream neighbor, about 10,500 feet. These lakes, 
however, can hardly be said to be "surrounded by grassy meadows," 
and their separation makes it unlikely they would have been described 
as a pair of twins. A final consideration is that the later descent "down 
the ravine of a tumbling stream, the commencement of some future 
river," ties in better with a campsite at the higher ponds. 

23. Todd, Bonneville, p. 189; U.S.G.S. Sweetwater Gap Quadrangle. The 
date was about September 11, 1833. The name of the mountain may 
go back to fur trade days. See the reference in T.D. Bonner, The Life 
and Adventures of]ames P. Beckivourth (New York: Harper and Brothers, 
1856), p. 285, to "winter quarters under Wind River Mountain, at 
the mouth of Po-po-on-che." But the narrator might well have had 
the entire range in mind. The feature labeled "Chimney Rock" on 
the map is not the summit historically referred to by that name— a 
much lower mountain due north of Wind River Peak and southwest 
of Ft. Washakie. The earlier Chimney Rock was climbed by Theodore 
Comstock in 1873. Judging from his account of the peak's being an 
isolated mass with an elevation of 11,853 feet, and a fine view to the 
northeast, it can be identified as the 11, 841-foot Bears Ears Moun- 
tain of later maps. Jones, Northwestern Wyoming, pp. 89-91. In a dry 
season, such as 1988, patches of snow remain on Wind River Peak, 
but the summit can be attained by climbing solely on rock. 

The captain looked off from "that dividing ridge which 
Indians regard as the crest of the world"— the Continen- 
tal Divide. His stand commanded the whole chain which 
"may rather be considered one immense mountain, broken 
into snowy peaks and lateral spurs, and seared with nar- 
row valleys." Lacking a barometer he could not determine 
the elevation. Still, it was his opinion that he had climbed 
to the loftiest point in North America. It was a fair claim, 
since the only higher peaks in the range lay far to the north, 
thirty-five miles away, too distant for exact comparisons. ^^ 

A small stream far below, almost at Bonneville's feet, 
dashed northward. He identified it as the source of the 
Green River, a rill that would cascade down to the plain 
where, expanding into an ample river, it would circle away 
to the south. This report turns out to be inaccurate. The 
error, though, is understandable. Bonneville did see a 
north-flowing headwater, but it was a branch of the Big 
Sandy River rather than the main stem of the Green River. 
The torrent, a full two thousand feet below him and which 
began in a small lake, promptly tumbled down a cascade 
where it lost five hundred feet of elevation, and then 
descended more calmly to Black Joe Lake, beyond which 
its course could only be surmised. Bonneville's guess was 
that it continued through a long valley between the Con- 
tinental Divide and a parallel chain to the west, eventu- 
ally reaching the plains and circling left in a hairpin bend. 
He apparently thought he saw the canyon through which 
the water carved its way north. The gap was not a canyon, 
though, but merely Jackass Pass, its form perhaps dis- 
guised by shadows. Bonneville may well have been work- 
ing without any kind of optical instrument. If so, it is hard 
to criticize his judgment even though his conclusion was 

Bonneville drew the parallel mountains on his great map 
of the waters of the Colorado, Columbia, Platte, and 
Yellowstone in relation to the Wind River Mountains. A 
further intriguing feature of this map is that it shows not 
only the stream he identified as the Green River, but also 

24. Todd, Bonnei'ille, pp. 190-191; U.S.G.S, Sweetwater Gap Quadrangle 
and Temple Peak Quadrangle (1969). A remarkable aspect of Wind 
River Peak is its domination of its surroundings. Only 12,972-foot 
Temple Peak, three miles to the west, comes within five hundred 
feet of Wind River Peak's elevation. The Continental Divide National 
Scenic Trail will be routed over a high pass between Wind Ri\er Peak 
and Temple Peak. There was no barometer because Bonneville de- 
cided before setting out on the expedition that the instrument was 
"so Clumbsy [sic] and so easily broken." Letter to Macomb, July 18, 
1831, quoted in Todd, Bonneville, p. wvi. The highest point in the 
Wind Rivers is Gannett Peak, at an elevation of 13,804 toot. 



SUMMER 1991 

a second stream which took a southward course, between 
the opposing chains, before escaping to the plains through 
a gap to the west. This is the Little Sandy, which threads 
its way through a narrow valley. Bonneville mislabeled it 
as the Big Sandy, but that was the consequence of his hav- 
ing called the one to the north the Green River. In his 
mind, since the Big Sandy was not going to the north, it 
must be the drainage to the south. 

The west side of the divide in the vicinity of Wind River 
Peak is a continuous band of cliffs. Bonneville therefore 
was forced to abandon his struggle to find a way across 
the range. With regret, no doubt, he descended to his com- 
panions at the lakes. He would make a way down to the 
east and return to his supply base by circling around the 
mountains via South Pass." 

The analysis in the text is based on Todd, Bonneville, pp. 190-194, 
and BonnevUle's map opposite p. 154, together with the topographic 
maps cited above. 

Other summits have been proposed as the site of Bonneville's 
climb. The first was Mt. Bonneville, which is mentioned by name, 
without description, in Hayden, Eleventh Annual Report, especially 
A.D. Wilson, "Map Showing the Primary Triangulation of 1877-78." 
According to C.G. Coutant, "explorations by the United States 
government resulted in the selection of this peak as the one BonnevUle 

It was almost as difficult to extricate the party from the 
wilderness as it had been to penetrate it. The route fol- 
lowed a rushing torrent, which the riders had to cross and 
recross. Evidently they were proceeding down the ravine 
below the little lakes, then along Deep Creek to Three Forks 
Park, where the stream enters the Middle Popo Agie River. 
The waters assumed a more peaceful character on the sec- 
ond day of the descent, sometimes spreading out placidly 
in beaver ponds. Finally, on the third day, Bonneville 
reached the plains. ^^ 

ascended and as this is official it serves my purpose." C.G. Coutant, 
History of Wyoming, vol. I (Laramie, Wyoming: Chaplin, Spafford & 
Mathison, Printer, 1899), p. 176. There is no evidence, however, that 
the peak was named under the impression that it was the one climbed 
by Bonneville, and there are many topographic objections to its being 
considered for the honor. In any case, Wilson's "Mt. Bonneville" 
is probably modem Raid Peak, joe Kelsey, Wyoming's Wind River Range 
(Helena, Montana: American Geographic Publishing, 1988), p. 66. 
Both Mt. Bonneville and Raid Peak lie west of the Continental Divide. 
A successful climb of either would have been followed by a descent 
to the Green River. 

Orrin H. Bonney and Lorraine Bonney effectively rebut E.H. 
Fourt's suggestion that Mt. Chauvenet was the mountain Bonneville 

* * 

Lake below Wind River Peak 



After Bonneville abandoned his attempt to cross the range, he traveled along De 
the Middle Popo Agie River. 

y Creek to Three Forks Park where the stream enters 

climbed. (Although the name "Mt. Chauvenet" is attached to the 
modern Lizard Head on Hayden Survey maps, as Kelsey points out, 
Fourt clearly had today's Mt. Chauvenet in mind, as he described 
it as a "spur extending several miles north and east of the main 
range," accessible on horseback, and "just to the east" of Mt. Hooker. 
E.H. Fourt, "Scenic Conditions in Fremont County, Wyoming," State 
of Wyoming, Historical Department, Quarterly Bulletin 2 0uly 15, 1924): 
13-14.) The Bonneys also dismiss Wind River Peak as a candidate, 
for two reasons: first, that it affords no view of the Green River head- 
waters (but see text, above) and second, that it was too close to South 
Pass (but when Bonneville entered the range he was trying to traverse 
it farther north). They propose Gannett Peak, but give no plausible 
account of an approach route, nor do they explain how a couple of 
untrained explorers could have accomplished, without comment, an 
ascent for which the authors assert that "rope and ice axe experience 
is needed." Orrin H. and Lorraine Bonney, Guide to the Wyoming 
Mountains and Wilderness Areas (Denver, Colorado: Sage Books, 1960), 
pp. 92-93, 171. There has also been speculation that Bonneville climbed 
Fremont Peak, but the suggestion rests solely upon a questionable 
premise, that the mountain would give the impression of being the 
most majestic and massive of all. Frederick S. Dellenbaugh, Fremont 
and '49 (New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1914), p. 88. 
More than forty years were to pass before the next recorded climbs 
of Wind River Peak by the Hayden Survey in 1877 and 1878. Hayden, 
Eleventh Annual Report, pp. 21-23, 652-656 (applying the name "Wind 
River Peak" in 1878); Ernest Ingersoll, Knocking 'Round the Rockies 
(New York: Harper and Brothers, 1883), pp. 156-161 (the mountain 
"nameless" in 1877). No evidence of prior human presence was noted 
by the Hayden parties. 

The question of optical instruments is an interesting one. Bon- 
neville had "a Dolland reflecting telescope" with which to observe 
the moons of Jupiter (to establish longitude) and other astronomical 
features; but, unlike Wyeth who was reported to have used a "spy- 
glass," there is no proof that he carried any portable optical in- 
struments on the expedition or on his climb. Todd, Bonneville, pp. 
36, 57. The telescope would not have been taken to the summit; apart 
from optical considerations, the difficulty of transportation, and even 
the time required for setting it up, would have made such use im- 
practicable. I.M. Nicollet, Report Intended to Illustrate a Map of the 
Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River, H.R. Doc. 52 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1845), p. 104. 
26. Todd, Bonneinlle, pp. 194-199; U.S.G.S. Sweetwater Gap Quadrangle 
(1953), and Fossil HUl Quadrangle (1953). The absence of any reference 
to The Sinks, where the river disappears into a mountain before 
reemerging half a mile downstream, implies that the party must have 
left the valley somewhere higher up. The route most likely took off 
a mile above Popo Agie Falls, which would have been noted as an 
obstacle, if not for its beauty. At this point it could be seen that the 
river was turning from southeast to northeast, so it would have been 
inviting to proceed up the low ridge on the right bank and cross over 
to Townsend Creek, at today's Frye Lake. One practicable course from 
there is the route headed southeast, labeled "Indian Trail" on modem 
maps, to the Little Popo Agie River and the plains; but it is more 
probable that Bonneville headed due east, as the account has him 
"regaining the plain to the eastward," from which he "made a great 
bend to the south." 



SUMMER 1991 

The adventure ended with an uneventful trip back to 
the Green River. Circling around the range by way of 
South Pass, the explorers must have glanced often at their 
snowy peak. Later travelers would sometimes call it "Fre- 
mont Peak," thinking it to be the high mountain climbed 
by the noted pathfinder in 1842.^^ 

Arriving at his camp on September 17, Bonneville 
found all his supplies in good order. Compulsively he set 
out the very next day, with the needed traps, to rejoin the 
men he had left in the Wind River Valley. This time he 
traveled over Union Pass, a defile to the north of the Wind 
Rivers, but that is another story. ^^ 

Both Bonneville and Fremont were brave men. While 
each tackled unknown wilderness, perilous to travel, the 
precipitous faces encountered by Bonneville on the eastern 
side of the range presented the greater obstacle. Fremont 
attained the higher and more difficult summit, but he 
tended to exaggeration in reciting the tale of his ac- 
complishment. Considering the maps of the expeditions 
as they pertain to the Wind Rivers, Bonneville must be ad- 

27. Among the mistaken later travelers were Heinrich Lienhard, From 
St. Louis to Sutter's Fort 1846, Erwin G. and Elizabeth K. Gudde, eds. 
(Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1961), p. 91; and Franklin 
Langworthy, Scenery of the Plains, Mountains and Mines (Princeton: 
Princeton University Press, 1932), p. 61. Lienhard and Langworthy 
probably were referring to Wind River Peak, but positive identifica- 
tion is impossible. The confusion was so persistent that the regional 
maps in Jones, Northwestern Wyoming, placed the Fremont's Peak 
name on Wind River Peak. On a clear day, Fremont Peak might have 
been observed from South Pass, so some diarists' allusions may be 
accurate. In this respect, see the drawing by J. Goldsborough Bruff 
depicting a mountain with several snow patches. From roadside obser- 
vations in the South Pass area, this seems to represent Fremont Peak, 
not Wind River Peak. Georgia WUlis Read and Ruth Gaines, eds. Gold 
Rush (New York: Columbia University Press, 1949), p. 61. 

28. Todd, Bonneville, pp. 200-204; Mattes, "Jackson Hole," pp. 87-108. 

judged the superior cartographer on account of the ex- 
cellent detail with which he depicted the mountains and 
streams and on account of the priority of their drawing. 
Fremont's map of 1842, on the other hand, contributed 
very little that was new. 

Bonneville showed himself to be a good leader, with 
a keen eye, great imagination, narrative skills, and sharp 
intellect. He would someday achieve high rank in the 
army, deservedly so. Yet the fine September day he stood 
atop Wind River Peak in Wyoming was a glorious time- 
perhaps the most glorious time— in his long and eventful 

JAMES R. WOLF has backpacked extensively along the Contineji- 
tal Divide between Canada and Mexico. He is Director of the Con- 
tinental Divide Trail Society, Bethesda, Maryland, and has writ- 
ten several guidebooks about the Trail. He authored "Fremont 
in the Wind Rivers" in the Fall 1988 issue of Annals of 
Wyoming. Wolf has undergraduate and law degrees from Yale 
University and serves as a senior attorney for the U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission. 



Editor's note: Beginning with this issue, Annals of Wyo- 
ming occasionally will publish reviews of movies dealing with 
Wyoming or Western history topics. Documentaries, movies made 
for television and films from Hollywood studios will be included. 
The reviewers will examine how the films interpret the past, com- 
pare them with other works on the same subject, determine if 
the movies show a thorough understanding of the past, and 
discuss how historically accurate the movies are. 

Dances with Wolves. Produced by Jim Wilson and Kevin 
Costner. Directed by Kevin Costner. 1990. TIG 

This is a movie that contrasts White and Indian values 
at mid-nineteenth century. The protagonist is a young 
army officer, Lieutenant John Dunbar, played by Kevin 
Costner, who in 1863, through a brave act during the Civil 
War, finds himself able to choose his next assignment. The 
choice is any post on the frontier, which he wants to see, 
he says, before it is gone. Shortly Dunbar receives orders 
from an insane major to report to Fort Segwick, identified 
as the last outpost of civilization. Upon arriving Dunbar 
finds the fort abandoned, but true to his military training 
he remains at his station and in time becomes acquainted 
with his neighbors, a wolf named Two Sock and a band 
of Teton Sioux. Acquaintance leads to friendship and 
friendship leads to commitment. Dunbar gradually adopts 
the Indian way, finding the values he needs to build a new 

What are those values? Writing in his journal, Dun- 
bar notes that Sioux live in harmony, which of course con- 
trasts with the ultimate White disharmony, the Civil War, 
that turned brother against brother. Several times Whites 
are shown killing animals for commercial gain beyond the 
need of their own survival or simply killing for fun. When 
the Sioux take human or animal life, it is to protect their 
families and homes or provide food. Finally, Dunbar has 
to decide between life in one world or the other, but cir- 
cumstances make it impossible for him to enjoy either. In 
the end he leaves his Indian friends to return to his own 
culture, where he is hunted as traitor, to explain his ac- 
tions and attempt to bring understanding concerning the 
true nature of the Native Americans. 

Understandably, Sioux peoples rejoice in the film. The 
Lakota men and women are brave, wise, and trusting, and 
they act for the good of the whole group. The film is not 
pioneering in this sense, for Indian peoples have been sym- 
pathetically portrayed in previous movies, notably in 
Cheyenne Autumn, Little Big Man, and A Man Called Horse. 
However, Dances loith Wolves is the first movie to use In- 
dians to play each and every Indian part. When we 
remember that Cheyenne Autumn released in 1964, featured 
Ricardo Montalban and Gilbert Roland as Dull Knife and 
Little Wolf, with Dolores Del Rio and Sal Mineo playing 
the other two principal Cheyenne parts, and that Dame 
Judith Anderson had one of the featured roles in A Man 
Called Horse, we can see how far we have come. Including 
extras, four hundred Indians appeared in the film, not all 
of them Sioux. While all spoke Lakota, carefully coached 
by Albert Whitehat and Dianne Leader Charge, insiders 
were amused by the accents of some of the supposed 
members of the tribe. The film also pioneers in that Lakota 
is the language most spoken in the film. English subtitles 
are provided, marking another first. 

The movie contains two egregious historical errors. 
Viewers are supposed to believe that the Sioux did not 
possess firearms of any kind in 1863, when in fact they 
were common among Plains Indians at least three decades 
earlier. The film also includes a scene of the devastating 
work of White hunters, who had just finished killing hun- 
dreds of buffalo for their hides, leaving the meat to rot. 
This practice did not really begin until the early 1870s. 

A third major error results from changing tribes in 
transferring the story from novel to screen play. In the 
book, written by Michael Blake, the Indians who befriend 
Dunbar are Comanches, not Sioux. This works all right ex- 
cept in one of the last scenes, when Old Chief Ten Bears, 
played by Royd Westerman, shows Dunbar a Spanish con- 
quistador's helmet and passes on the tribal story of the first 
meeting with the Whites. For the Comanches contact with 
early Spanish explorers was possible, but not for the Teton 
Sioux, who were located in central Minnesota during the 
sixteenth century. Because Blake also wrote the movie 
script, the story throughout is the same except in a few 
minor details. 

Whites may complain that they are unjustlv portrayed 
in the movie, but at least Kevin Costner is a hero. The In- 
dian enemy of the Sioux in the movie, the Pawnees, are 
the personification of evil, as stereotypicallv villainous as 



SUMMER 1991 

any of their celluloid predecessors, and the killing of a 
Pawnee chief by Costner and his Indian comrades is one 
of the highlights of the film. As Indian reviewer Elmer 
Savilla recently said of the film in the Lakota Times, "The 
Sioux will love it, the Pawnee will hate it, and Orion Pic- 
tures will dance to the bank." 

Beautiful pastoral scenes abound, especially views of 
fall, with Cottonwood puffs coasting on the wind and 
leaves golden against the blue of the river. The film's 
greatest dramatic scene is a buffalo hunt, so magnificent 
in execution that one wonders how it could have been 
done. For this alone the movie is worth seeing. 

The questions Dances with Wolves raises will keep the 
thoughtful viewer occupied for some time and might serve 
as a useful teaching tool in a course on the American West. 

John D. McDermott 
Sheridan, Wyoming 

Come See the Paradise. Produced by Robert F. Colesbury, 
directed by Alan Parker. 1990. 20th Century Fox. 

An accident of history made Wyoming a player in a 
dark chapter of American democracy during World War 
II. In early 1942, weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl 
Harbor, growing war hysteria led to President Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt's decision to clear the West Coast of 
everyone of Japanese ancestry as a national security 
measure. The rationale was that among them might be 
some spies and saboteurs. But since they could not be iden- 
tified, all 115,000 men, women, and children— two-thirds 
of them native-born U.S. citizens— were ordered out of 
their homes at gunpoint and confined in jerry-built deten- 
tion camps pounded together at county fairgrounds and 
horse race tracks in California, Oregon, and Washington. 

Once the Japanese- Americans were locked up, how- 
ever, no one was quite sure what should be done with 
them. The ultimate decision was to move them to more 
permanent camps in the interior. Since there were no such 
camps, sites large enough to accommodate anywhere from 
eight thousand to twenty thousand people had to be 
selected and facilities built on them. 

There were certain minimum criteria for the sites. The 
land had to be federally owned, isolated from population 
centers, but with access to water and power. Two sites 
were found in the southern Arizona desert, one in Califor- 
nia not far from Death Valley, another near the parched 
border between California and Oregon, one in the Sevier 

Desert of Utah, one in the sagebrush country of south- 
central Idaho, one near the Colorado-Kansas border which 
had been part of the Dust Bowl, and one in Wyoming. 

The accident of history that made the Wyoming site 
suitable was the Shoshone irrigation project which had 
been started with high hopes. Water impounded behind 
Buffalo Bill Dam could make Bureau of Land Management 
benchlands between Cody and Powell productive, but the 
canal to transport the water had not been completed. Why 
not build the camp on the benches north of the highway 
(Alternate 14) and use inmate labor to complete the canal? 
That was done. 

During the summer of 1942 virtually everyone in the 
Big Horn Basin who knew how to swing a hammer was 
employed to build a barracks town on the sagebrush flats. 
In late summer the first of the Japanese-Americans began 
to arrive by the trainload under military escort. By late fall 
Heart Mountain War Relocation Camp, with a population 
of nearly 11,000 people was Wyoming's third largest city. 
It's fundamental difference from other Wyoming com- 
munities was that it was surrounded by barbed wire, 
guarded by armed troops, and no one could leave or enter 
without permission. 

Each morning crews left the camp to work on the canal. 
Each evening they returned to families waiting in one-room 
barrack apartments. Other crews stripped nearby bench- 
land of sagebrush and leveled the soil in preparation for 
farming when the water became available. In the spring 
of 1943 crops were planted for camp use and watered from 
the completed canal. 

When war ended in 1945 the inmates left. The now- 
irrigable land they left behind was opened to homesteading 
by war veterans. Today this section of Park County is a 
productive, stable farming area. 

This chapter of history would seem to be raw material 
for a variety of compelling literary and dramatic efforts. 
There have been a number attempted, mostly with indif- 
ferent success. Perhaps the facts about this gross violation 
of the rights of its citizens by the United States are too 
stark, too unbelievable, too unpleasant to make good 
drama. Whatever the case, the latest effort is the movie, 
Come See the Paradise, starring Dennis Quaid and Tamlyn 

Driven out of New York for his union-organizing ac- 
tivity. Jack (played by Quaid) moves just before World War 
II to Los Angeles where he gets a job as a projectionist in 
a movie theater owned by the Japanese immigrant Kawa- 
mura family. Jack falls in love with the Kawamuras' 
thoroughly American daughter, Lily (played by Tomita). 



They marry despite parental objections and California law 
which prohibits inter-racial marriages. 

War comes. Jack is drafted. The Kawamuras, including 
Lily and her daughter. Mini, are hustled off to the rude 
comforts of a generic Japanese- American detention camp 
which could be Wyoming's Heart Mountain. 

The movie reflects the fact that not everyone behind 
the barbed wire was a happy camper. The injustice of the 
evacuation and the unnatural camp life led to a buildup 
of tensions and anger, particularly when the U.S. govern- 
ment, in its wisdom, sought to determine the "loyalty" 
of the imprisoned by requiring them to fill out question- 
naires, and then began to draft the camps' young men for 
military duty. Heart Mountain was not immune. Some 
sixty youths said they would obey Selective Service orders 
only when their civil rights were restored. In a mass trial 
in Cheyenne they were found guUty of draft resistance and 
sent to prison. But hundreds of others reported for military 
duty and served with distinction. The twenty-two Heart 
Mountain men who died in the service of their country are 
memorialized in a monument in a park at the campsite. 

Unfortunately, the film fails to make clear why some 
of the inmates swallowed their resentment and chose to 
cooperate with their government while others rebelled, or 
why one of Lily's brothers volunteered for U.S. military 
service while another decided to abandon his country and 
seek refuge in a Japan he had never seen. 

These are the profound, gut-wrenching realities of the 
Japanese-American story of which Wyoming was a part. 

Sadly, while the film is generally accurate in historical 
details, it touches on the real issues only superficially. 

Does the film give the audience a better understanding 
of what actually happened? Yes and no. There are better 
efforts. One is Farewell to Manzanar, which covers the same 
general area, but with greater sensitivity. It was made some 
years ago based on the book of the same title by Jeanne 
Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, and telecast 
nationally by PBS. 

Come See the Paradise, whatever its assets (and there are 
some), cannot be recommended for classroom use because 
of its gratuitous profanity and obscenity. It is an indictment 
of the movie-making industry that the foul-mouth char- 
acter is not essential to the story; he seems to have been 
inserted into the film simply because it is fashionable these 
days to have someone spouting four-letter words from the 
big screen. 

But the best film by far for adults as well as classroom 
use is Winter in My Soul, an hour-long documentary pro- 
duced by Bob Nellis a few years ago when he was with 
KTWO News in Casper. At the time it was aired, KTWO 
announced the video would be made available to schools 
and other interested groups. See it if you can for an 
understanding of a bit of American history that should not 
be forgotten. 

Bill Hosokawa 
Denver, Colorado 



Discovering Wyoming. By Robert A. Campbell and Roy A. 
Jordan. Salt Lake City: Gibbs-Smith, 1989. Illustrated. 
Index. Glossary. Maps. 178 pp. Cloth $21.00. 

Wyoming: Courage in a Lonesome Land. By Randy Adams and 
Craig Sodaro. Carson City, Nevada: The Grace Dan- 
berg Foundation, Inc., 1990. Illustrated. Index. 
Glossary. Maps. 304 pp. Cloth $24.95. 

The purpose of this review is to examine two history 
books which are designed to be used as texts in Wyoming's 
schools. As expected, each book contains certain strengths, 
as well as weaknesses, and these wUl be explored in order 
to assist teachers, school administrators, and others in the 
process of selecting the textbook best suited to meet their 
needs and the learning needs of their students. While most 
reviewers concentrate on the organization, content, and 
views expressed in a publication, our comments cover a 
wider range of issues due to the expected audience 
(children) and the nature of the books (textbooks). 

The readability level of the Adams and Sodaro book 
appears to be more appropriate either for gifted fourth grade 
students or for those students in more advanced grades 
(junior high school). However, the fictionalized stories 
(shaded green), which are located throughout the book, 
are suitable for students reading at a fourth grade level. 
According to two readability inventories, the Campbell and 
Jordan book {Discovering Wyoming) is more appropriate for 
those students who read at or slightly above the fourth 
grade level. 

Another matter of importance to teachers is the length 
of each book. If a school district only allots four months 
for the teaching of Wyoming history, the more concise 
Campbell and Jordan text (178 pp.) may better meet the 
needs of students than does the longer (304 pp.) and more 
detailed Adams and Sodaro book. Conversely, if a teacher 
is able to devote most of the school year to the study of 
Wyoming's history, then the Adams and Sodaro book 
becomes increasingly appealing. While the length of a book 
should not constitute the solitary reason for text adoption 
by a school district, it is a mitigating factor. 

The overall organization of both books is generally 
similar in the sense that Wyoming heritage is presented 
chronologically beginning with the early Indian habitation 

and proceeding through the major happenings of the mid 
and late twentieth century. However, Discovering Wyoming 
also delves into Wyoming's distant past in a chapter on 
the geological development of Wyoming. 

Both books paint Wyoming's history with broad brush 
strokes, and this is not unusual for textbooks designed for 
school-aged children. As expected, some treatment is given 
to significant nineteenth century topics as the roles played 
by fur traders and trappers, especially during the 1820s and 
1830s, the activities of pioneers traveling along the trails 
crossing Wyoming during the 1840s, 1850s and 1860s, the 
arrival of railroads, the formation of governmental entities, 
the growth of the livestock industry, and conflict between 
various Indian tribes and the military forces of the United 

Fortunately, both books also study the development 
of Wyoming during the twentieth century. Though the 
frontier aspect of Wyoming's history is appealing and 
romantic for some, the tendency has been to overly con- 
centrate on this period of Wyoming's past to the near ex- 
clusion of major events occurring during more recent 
times. While school children should learn about the moun- 
tain men, overland emigrants, cowboys, pony express 
riders, and outlaws, they also must have some under- 
standing of those forces which together forged twentieth- 
century Wyoming. Discovering Wyoming and Wyoming: 
Courage in a Lonesome Land offer adequate coverage on the 
impact of two world wars (World War I and World War 
II) and a national economic depression (1930s). Also ex- 
plored are the bases of Wyoming's current economy- 
energy development (coal, oil, and uranium), tourism and 
recreation, and agriculture (ranching and farming). 

Both books succeed in presenting complex issues and 
events in an understandable manner without overly dis- 
torting the valuable perspectives gained through a careful 
study of history. Fortunately, the authors of the books 
write as historically-minded individuals who realized that 
events do not occur in isolation, but are connected to 
previous happenings in ways not always easy to discern. 

Because each of the books being reviewed possesses 
certain advantages, they must be examined independently. 
Discovering Wyoming by Campbell and Jordan touches on 
a number of important issues. The first two chapters deal 
with the Wyoming environment, the evolution of its land 



forms, and the human use of its natural resources. The last 
topic, the use or abuse of natural resources, is a subject 
which has undergone considerable discussion and debate 
during the previous twenty years when energy develop- 
ment brought both boom and bust times to Wyoming. 

Discovering Wyoming is crammed full of interesting 
questions which are posed to stimulate thinking about the 
information presented. These questions should generate 
discussion about a variety of pertinent issues. For exam- 
ple, what kinds of benefits does rapid growth bring? What 
kinds of problems? How did the people of Wyoming help 
win World War II? In what ways did the United States 
government break treaties with the Indians? What prob- 
lems did immigrants face? How do the citizens help 
government do its job? Why did ranchers grow angry at 
the homesteaders? Hopefully, teachers will proceed 
beyond the factual information presented in the book in 
order to engage students in a discussion of the controver- 
sies and issues raised by Campbell and Jordan. After all, 
one reason for studying history is to explore the past for 
the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the pres- 
ent. The authors do a good job of drawing on the natural 
curiosity of children who are inclined to wonder about the 
"hows" and "whys" of historical episodes. 

One asset of Discovering Wyoming is the study guide 
section located at the end of each chapter. This section con- 
tains a list of significant words used in the chapter and 
poses questions about or stemming from information pre- 
sented in the chapter. Some questions solicit factual infor- 
mation while others are designed to engage the student 
in higher order thinking skills. These study guide sections 
are especially well written and valuable. 

The photographs, drawings, graphs, maps, and other 
visual aids definitely add to the quality of Discovering Wyo- 
ming. Good visuals should complement the script and add 
to the reader's knowledge of the subject matter. Also, a 
good photograph, graph, or artist's rendering is easy to 
understand if properly placed on a page. For a photograph 
or painting to be effective, it should attract the reader's at- 
tention and not be so cluttered with detail or distractions 
that the reader ignores the image and information pre- 
sented. Remember, the readers of this book are most likely 
to be fourth grade students. Most of the visuals in Discolor- 
ing Wyoming would capture the attention of these young 

A number of educationally useful features are found 
in Discovering Wyoming. Orange highlighted segments draw 
the reader's attention to brief biographical sketches, 
eyewitness accounts, charts, graphs, maps, and stories of 

special interest. Chapters are short (10-15 pp.) and are 
sprinkled with enough visuals to sustain the interest of 
young readers. Headings and sub-headings serve as effec- 
tive guide posts, and information is packaged into brief 
clusters. Finally, many difficult but important words are 
pronounced and/or defined. A few such examples are 
heritage (HAIR-uh tij), glaciers (GLAY-sherz), and 
droughts (DROUWTS). The authors of Discovering Wyo- 
ming have not only produced a credible history of 
Wyoming (with very few factual errors), but they have 
presented this state's heritage in a way that creates a wor- 
thwhile educational experience for children. 

One of the most effective features of Wyoming: Courage 
in a Lonesome Land by Adams and Sodaro is the incorpora- 
tion of historical fiction into the theme(s) of each chapter. 
These stories are shaded green to set them off from the 
main body of information, and they succeed in adding a 
personal touch to the developments of various periods in 
Wyoming history. For example, one story is written as a 
diary account of an explorer visiting Wyoming in 1807-1808, 
while another one depicts the possible experiences of a 
fourth grade Japanese-American student at the Heart 
Mountain Relocation Center in 1942-1943. These fictional- 
ized vignettes are both enjoyable and informative. 

Wyoming: Courage in a Lonesome Land includes a wide 
array of visuals. Almost every page contains a photograph 
or a drawing. A few maps are located throughout the book 
and are strategically placed, but the inclusion of more maps 
identifying the location of towns, railroads, mining ac- 
tivities, and important sites as Heart Mountain, the T.A. 
Ranch, and Devils Tower would be useful. However, 
teachers could supplement the book with a Wyoming 
highway map in order to teach map reading skills. While 
most of the photographs and artistic depictions included 
in the book are informative, some of them do not leave 
a clear message or are hard to decipher. For example, the 
Alfred Jacob Miller painting on page 26 is blurry because 
it is black and white while the original painting is in color. 
Some photographs are cluttered with almost indistinguish- 
able detail (pp. 86, 164, 181 bottom, 192, 206, and so forth). 
Because these images are unclear, students may ignore 
them. Large pictures with obvious messages are preferred 
by young students. 

In addition to those more obvious aspects of Wyo- 
ming's heritage, such as woman suffrage, homesteading, 
building of the first transcontinental railroad, the livestock 
and mining industries, Adams and Sodaro cover other 
themes and developments germane to the history of 
Wyoming. The twentieth century impact of the automobile 



SUMMER 1991 

and its relationship to tourism is examined as are the ef- 
fects of other technological wonders as the airplane, the 
radio, television, and the extension of electricity to rural 
Wyoming. Controversial issues as prohibition during the 
1920s and early 1930s, the Teapot Dome oil scandal, the 
tough life of migrant-farm workers, the internment of 
Japanese-Americans at Heart Mountain during World War 
II, and the protest demonstrations of the 1960s are touched 
upon in Wyoming: Courage in a Lonesome Land. The book, 
as its title indicates, explores the triumphs and tragedies 
of those who possessed the courage, fortitude, and deter- 
mination to "stick it out" and fashion a diverse society in 
a rugged and challenging environment. 

Discovering Wyoming and Wyoming: Courage in a 
Lonesome Land offer teachers and students a good selection 
of history textbooks. Before making a decision to adopt a 
specific book, teachers should carefully examine the two 
books being reviewed and any other Wyoming history text- 
books designed for school-aged children. They should ask 
themselves and be able to answer the following ques- 
tions—How well is the history of Wyoming covered? How 

well do the authors use historical ir\formation? Is the book 
organized in a manner that contributes to the student's 
understanding of the flow of history? Are historical de- 
velopments and personalities examined within a mean- 
ingful context, and is the intellectual level appropriate for 
young students? Do visual aids (photographs, charts, 
maps, and so forth) add or detract from the quality of the 
book? Finally, how does the book fit the overall learning 
needs of your students? 

Both books effectively show how the present is an ex- 
tension of the past. History is not a study of the "dead 
past" but allows us to share in the wisdom and foibles of 
the ages. Two thousand years ago Cicero uttered the 
following words: "To be ignorant of what happened before 
you were born is to be ever a child." 


Jessup Elementary School 

Cheyenne, Wyoming 

Laramie County Community College 



Incident at Bitter Creek: The Story of the Rock Springs Chinese 
Massacre. By Craig Storti. Ames: Iowa State Univer- 
sity Press, 1991. Illustrated. Index. Bibliography. 
Notes. Map. xii and 193 pp. Cloth $21.95. 

The history of Chinese immigrants in Wyoming has 
always been discussed in light of the 1885 "Chinese 
Massacre." Craig Storti's efforts to describe this tragedy 
broadens the discussion and provides a fresh perspective 
of the events which led to this calamity. 

Storti begins his effort by informing the reader why 
the Chinese came to America and what they did once they 
arrived. He provides one of the best descriptions of why 
the Chinese came to Rock Springs. He discusses the reac- 
tion of mine workers to the arrival of the Chinese and the 
subsequent development of the Knights of Labor in Wyo- 
ming. Writing in a style that enlivens both the events and 
the principal players, Storti's work provides the 
background information needed to understand why 
"China town" was burned and twenty-eight Chinese 
residents killed on September 2, 1885. 

One of Storti's greatest contributions is his discussion 
of the Knights of Labor in Wyoming and the role they 
played before and after the anti-Chinese riot which led to 
the loss of life and property at Rock Springs. While noting 
the miners in Rock Springs had legitimate problems, Storti 
provides an excellent description of why the labor union 
did not succeed. He writes: "The difficulty was that while 
their cause was as legitimate as ever, the miners had 
disgraced themselves by their behavior." Because the 
Knights of Labor were blamed for the tragedy along Bitter 
Creek, their labor strike would never be condoned. Storti 
clearly states this fact, and while he seemingly sympathizes 
with the union in Rock Springs, he condemns their actions. 
"While one sympathizes and may identify with the miners 
to a point," Storti writes, "their brutality forever leaves 
a bad taste." 

The first thing that strikes the reader about the Inci- 
dent at Bitter Creek is how well it is written. The author leads 
the reader through the various aspects of the events sur- 
rounding "The Chinese Massacre" with a well-organized 

account that is a pleasure to read. Storti masterfully por- 
trays the life of the Chinese and White miners. His discus- 
sions of the military activities after the massacre are insight- 
ful. And for the first time a writer provides a detailed 
description of what the Chinese miners had to contend 
with when they returned to Rock Springs once the U.S. 
Army insured their safety. These details are all presented 
in a concise manner that causes the reader to want to learn 
more about the "Incident at Bitter Creek." 

Storti is a craftsman with words and invites the readers 
into the story, but he fails to provide his guests with ac- 
curate details in a few places. For example, Howard 
Stansbury traveled through the Bitter Creek Valley in 1850, 
not in 1852 as noted in the text. Second, General John J. 
Pershing was Francis Warren's son-in-law. Warren was not 
Pershing's son-in-law as noted in the conclusion of the 
book. Third, the first coal mine in Wyoming was not 
opened by the Blair Brothers; this distinction belongs to 
overland immigrants, Jim Bridger, and possibly Judge 
W.A. Carter, who used coal in their blacksmith shops at 
Fort Bridger. Fourth, Storti contends the Panic of 1873 was 
"more severe than the Great Depression of the 1930s." 
A number of historians do not agree with this statement. 
Finally, the question of how many Chinese residents in 
Rock Springs lost their lives on September 2, 1885, is 
problematic. Storti claims "The final death toll was put at 
fifty-one, the highest ever for a race riot in American 
history." The most commonly quoted figure is twenty- 
eight, but it is difficult to know how many Chinese died. 
It will probably never be precisely known exactly how 
many Chinese miners lost their lives, and any figure used 
is open to question. 

Storti's book is recommended reading for all who have 
an interest in Chinese history, Wyoming, railroad history, 
and labor relations in the West. It is an excellent effort that 
enlightens the reader and sheds new light on one of the 
most puzzling aspects of Wyoming's past. 

Western Wyotuin^i CoUc^^c 



SUMMER 1991 

World War Hand the West: Reshaping the Economy. By Gerald 
D. Nash. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989. 
Illustrated. Index. Notes. Bibliography, xii and 288 pp. 
Cloth $32.50. 

Our contemporary American West began not in 1890 
with the closing of the frontier, but during the years 
1941-1945 by reconfiguring the economy as Americans 
fought World War II. During the war the American West 
grew up and grew out of the colonial status that once de- 
fined the region. Gerald Nash, Presidential Professor of 
History at the University of New Mexico, argues convinc- 
ingly that before the war the West's undiversified economy 
relied upon the exportation of raw materials to the in- 
dustrialized Northeast and Middle West and economic 
development of the region lagged. But by the end of the 
war the American West had become an economic paceset- 
ter. Nash demonstrates that the economy was restructured 
in four years, a restructuring that would have taken forty 
years in peace time. 

The restructuring of the West's economy hinged on 
several things. First, it relied heavily on technological in- 
novation. This was especially true in the ship building and 
aircraft industries. Second, the restructuring, as radical as 
it was, continued to rely on competition rather than a 
managed economy. Third, there was a "decided deter- 
mination to limit the deadening influence of pervasive 
bureaucracy." Despite the attitude toward bureaucracy a 
significant factor in the changing economy was the growth 
of federal spending, especially military spending. 

Nash's work in twentieth century western history is 
well known. This book, however, is not simply a history. 
Nash is also trying to influence public policy. He believes 
the American economy in the late twentieth century is 
undergoing enormous changes and that there are lessons 
to be learned from the World War II experience of Western 
America. We should learn, he says, that "attitudes toward 
restructuring played a vital part in the mobilization pro- 
cess." Westerners had a "can do" attitude and believed 
in themselves. In addition, the federal government pro- 
vided leadership and money to a mix of government, 
private enterprise, agriculture, and labor. Nash argues 
Americans should learn from this experience as they con- 
front the future. 

This book attempts to treat the West as a region. But 
are the conclusions applicable to Wyoming? It is becom- 
ing increasingly clear that there are several different Wests 
and that Wyoming does not fit the pattern of California 
or Arizona. Many of the trends the book describes simply 

do not apply to Wyoming. Did World War II cause the 
Wyoming economy to diversify? Did the federal govern- 
ment help to create a defense industry in Wyoming 
through its spending on military hardware? Wyoming is 
only mentioned on five pages of the book according to the 
index. The controversy over the Jackson Hole National 
Monument receives more attention than any other 
development in the state. Thurman Arnold, who left 
Wyoming for greener pastures, gets much more attention 
than the state as does Senator Joseph O'Mahoney . In both 
cases these men are discussed because they saw the prob- 
lem of colonialism in Wyoming. 

This is an excellent contribution to the history of the 
American West. Students of Wyoming history should read 
its conclusions with caution. 


Division of Parks and Cultural Resources 

Wyoming Department of Commerce 

Astoria & Empire. By James P. Ronda. Lincoln: University 
of Nebraska Press, 1990. Illustrated. Index. Maps. 
Bibliography. Notes, xiv and 400 pp. Cloth $25.00. 

Frontier historians have long been appreciative of the 
pathbreaking establishment of Astoria as a fur-trading post 
on the Columbia River in 1811 and its short history as a 
pawn in international rivalries. James P. Ronda, well re- 
spected for his work on the Lewis and Clark expedition, 
presents in this book the first full-length study of Astoria 
to appear since Washington Irving's Astoria in 1836. The 
result is a fine work that is more significant than just a story 
of adventure in the Pacific Northwest or just one more ac- 
count of a single aspect of the fur trade. It moves with a 
sweep and a dimension that places the little post on the 
banks of the Columbia in the vortex of world events, a 
pawn in games of international rivalry and chance. It 
should be required reading for all students of American 
history who wish to elevate their historical levels beyond 
pedestrian concerns and place them within a wider and 
more significant context. 

Ronda describes carefully the efforts of John Jacob 
Astor, head of the Pacific Fur Company and several other 
business enterprises, to establish Astoria as the capital of 
his far western trading empire during the first decade of 
the nineteenth century. That effort moved from New York 
to Washington to St. Petersburg to Montreal to Canton as 
he manipulated international politics and appealed to per- 
sonal desires. Astor, motivated by a quest for wealth but 



fortified by a sense of national prominence, appealed to 
the expansionist-minded politicians of the United States 
to gain support for Astoria's creation. He was finally suc- 
cessful and in 1811 the site was settled by representatives 
of the Pacific Fur Company traveling in two contingents, 
one overland and the other by sea. For the next three years 
Astor and his lieutenants battled bureaucracy in several 
nations, international ambitions on the part of several 
countries, rival fur trading companies, and the economics 
of the business to keep Astoria in operation. They failed, 
and it succumbed during the War of 1812 only to become 
one of the British North West Company's posts for the next 
twenty years. 

But Astoria & Empire is more than a recitation of the 
life and death of the American settlement. Although it is 
little more than a footnote in most history texts, if Ronda 
had limited his book to the Astoria's history irrespective 
of other events that affected it, I would have questioned 
the necessity of its publication. Instead, Ronda provides 
an excellent study in this history of international relations 
at several levels of governments and between private 
citizens. Astoria is, essentially, a case study in business 
and politics in an international setting. Ronda's work, 
moreover, is a social history. He uses some untapped 
historical materials to reconstruct life on the trips to and 
from Astoria as well as activities at the post. In so doing, 
he presents a very useful portrait of activities in an early 
fur trading establishment. He describes something of the 
interrelationships of cultures and allegiances between the 
Americans, the Indians, the French and British Canadians, 
the Russians, and the Hawaiians. This social portrait is 
especially welcome also as a glimpse of the diversity pres- 
ent during the early fur trading frontier. 

Astoria & Empire is one of several refreshing books to 
appear recently on the development of the American West. 
It is a commendable work, and because of the skill of its 
author its 344 pages of narrative make interesting reading. 
One word of caution, however. This is not just western 
or frontier history, it is sophisticated analysis of several 
historical trends focused through the lens of Astoria. Pres- 
ent in it also is social history with business history and 
diplomatic history and probably some other types of 
history yet unnamed. Those seeking staid fur trade 
literature with the emphasis on minutiae will be disap- 
pointed. Those readers pondering broader vistas, however, 
will be rewarded by considering Ronda's work. 

NASA Chief Historian 

We Took the Train. Edited by H. Roger Grant. DeKalb: 
Northern Illinois University Press, 1990. Illustrated. In- 
dex. Footnotes, xxx and 175 pp. Cloth $29.50. 

We Took the Train is a collection of previously published 
railroad subjects consisting of twenty-one chapters cover- 
ing a period of 146 years in railroading activities. The sub- 
jects are of a wide variety, are thought provoking, and re- 
mind the reader of various aspects or situations in the an- 
nals of America's fascinating railroad history. 

The selection of the material chosen for the book is 
balanced, and no doubt the readers could close their eyes 
and imagine each of the situations described. While the 
snow blockade in New York is described well, one could 
certainly put himself in similar circumstances (or remember 
storms of the past) at many other locales throughout the 
United States or Canada. 

Historically, chapter nine, titled "Nine Thousand Miles 
on a Pullman Train," is one of the most accurate accounts, 
since it appears to be original material from a diary. Hav- 
ing personally researched many Colorado railroad lines, 
this chapter became one of my favorites. Another enjoyable 
chapter is "Riding Freights to Jamestown in 1936." This 
describes a true experience of depression-era bumming on 
freight trains to seek employment in the wheat fields of 
North Dakota, only to be disappointed that the harvest was 
not quite ready, and finding hordes of others waiting for 
the same jobs. 

Anyone who has had the experience of riding on 
trains, especially before AMTRAK, will enjoy recounting 
the novelty of the Pullman sleeping car, or the fine food 
served in the dining car, or possibly even the long trip on 
a doodlebug, traversing some remote line across rural 

The illustrations are adequate for this type of book. 
Most appear to be publicity type photographs from railroad 
public relations files, and have been published previously. 

This book is recommended to the general reader who 
enjoys a variety of railroad subjects, as well as the human 
interest aspect. The collection of articles brings to mind a 
picture of railroading that one fails to think about until 
reading the book. 

Cheyenne, Wyoming 



SUMMER 1991 

First Ladies of Wyoming 1869-1990. Edited by Mabel Brown. 
Cheyenne: Wyoming Commission for Women, 1991. 
Illustrated. Notes. Bibliography, viii and 160 pp. Cloth 
$24.95. Paper $15.95. 

A collective biography of the wives of Wyoming's 
governors is long overdue. The governors themselves have 
been the subjects of biographical portraits published in 
many forums including the short thumbnail sketches in 
the three volumes of the Wyoming Blue Book. The omission 
of sound historical scholarship about their wives finally has 
been rectified by this excellent series of word portraits ably 
edited by Wyoming historian Mabel Brown and published 
by the Wyoming Commission for Women. 

Brown and a dozen other historians contributed the 
essays on wives of the eight territorial governors and the 
twenty-six state governors in Wyoming history (Helen 
Smith Warren counted twice— F.E. Warren was the last ter- 
ritorial governor and, briefly, state governor). As in any 
collective biography, the essays vary significantly as to 
length and detail. Many collective works suffer from 
uneven writing, but, fortunately, that is not a problem with 
First Ladies of Wyoming. The essays are consistently well 
written and indicate more than cursory historical research. 
Certainly, this reflects the crafting skills of the dozen 
writers, but it also indicates the importance of a dedicated, 
skilled editor (who, incidentally, also wrote many of the 
essays). Besides biographies, an interesting additional 
essay, written by Tim White, tells the story of the Historic 
Governors' Mansion, home to many of the first ladies un- 
til it became a historic site in 1977. 

Many of the governors' wives led quiet lives away from 
the public eye. Consequently, biographical essays about 
them tend to be short histories about their husbands as 
much as about themselves. For instance, Ellen Elizabeth 
Moonlight, wife of Territorial Governor Thomas Moon- 
light, is identified as "a devoted homemaker." Of course, 
this is not a criticism of the book as much a comment on 
the roles Wyoming's first ladies played, particularly dur- 
ing the territorial period, as silent home supporters of their 
public spouses. Portraits of the first ladies indicate these 
qualities. Estella Wyland Chatterton is pictured as holding 
two of her children on her lap. (Portraits of all but one first 
lady are included in the book. According to editor Brown, 
an "intensive search" failed to turn up any photograph 
of Laura Spese Morgan, wife of Acting Territorial Gover- 
nor E.S.N. Morgan.) 

Certainly, many first ladies played active parts in 
cultural and civic organizations. Two became politicians 

themselves. The more famous example, of course, is Nellie 
Tayloe Ross, the only first lady who served also as gover- 
nor. Another more recent former first lady made a name 
for herself in politics. Winifred Hickey, following the death 
of her husband, J.J. Hickey, in 1970, began a distinguished 
career in public service, first as Laramie County Commis- 
sioner, and later in the state legislature. 

A few of the women seemed to have been victims of 
the times. As Cynthia Georgen Baskin points out in the 
essay about Eula Wulfjen Kendrick, Mrs. Kendrick was 
"no mere 'helpmate' or 'power behind the throne.' She 
wanted a measure of fame for herself and her husband's 
political office helped her attain that fame." (p. 64) One 
can only speculate where Eula Kendrick' s ambitions may 
have driven her had she lived in another time. 

As a few biographies indicate, some first ladies remain- 
ed in the private sphere, but exercised significant power 
behind the scenes. Julia Freeman Carey, one of the most 
colorful individuals to occupy the governor's mansion, dis- 
dained the usual social obligations of the position, opting 
instead to take an active part in promoting legislation (the 
designation of Saratoga Hot Springs Park, for instance) and 
become involved in the political intrigues in the capital. 
Her mother-in-law, Mrs. Joseph M. Carey, also showed 
intense interest in political affairs. At one point she became 
so angry with "unfair tactics" of political opponents that 
she attempted to take them on verbally at a public rally 
until she was dissuaded by one of her husband's friends 
from making such a spectacle. 

Most first ladies quietly fulfilled their social obligations 
and became well liked and admired by citizens throughout 
the state. Examples include several recent first ladies, 
Casey Herschler and Martha Hansen, for instance, but not 
all first ladies gained universal adulation. According to the 
Jamie Childs Ring essay on Julia Carey, to the public, she 
"appeared to be demanding and distant." Her mother-in- 
law, Louisa Carey, met with similar public reaction. 

Taken as a group, the first ladies of Wyoming were a 
fascinating group and the book is filled with interesting 
anecdotes. Through these words and portraits, the women 
seem to come to life. Again, this is a tribute to the careful 
historical research and writing by more than a dozen 
historians and the able editing of Mabel Brown. These 
biographies of Wyoming governors' wives, some of whom 
have been almost forgotten, promise to delight and inspire 
Wyoming readers for years to come. 

University of Wyoming 



Wounded Knee: Lest We Forget. By Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., 
Trudy Thomas and Jeanne Eder. Introduction by 
George P. Horse Capture. Billings, Montana: Artcraft 
Printers, 1990. Illustrated. Bibliography. Notes. Maps. 
iv and 60 pp. Paper $18.95. 

The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in 1990 organized an 
exhibit about the events during December, 1890, at 
Wounded Knee, South Dakota. This catalogue supple- 
ments the exhibit. Included in the catalogue are a narrative 
by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. which explores the events leading 
up to the massacre and the significance of the event, a look 
at the Ghost Dance art style by Trudy Thomas, and Jeanne 
Eder examines the "contemporary Sioux peoples' own 
story of the Wounded Knee Massacre as recollected 
through oral tradition." The catalogue contains many illus- 
trations, a good portion of which are in color. 

Deer Creek: Frontiers Crossroads in Pre-Territorial Wyoming. 
By Glenrock Historical Commission. Casper: Moun- 
tain States Lithographing Company, 1990. Illustrated. 
Index. Map. Notes. 159 pp. Paper. 

Bill Bryans, in this history sponsored by the Glenrock 
Historical Commission, studies the fur, transportation, 
missionary, Indian, and scientific frontiers present at Deer 
Creek Station before the creation of Wyoming Territory. 
Such topics as Deer Creek's role along the Oregon Trail, 
the Mormon mail station, Bissonette's trading post, the Up- 
per Platte Indian Agency, the Lutheran mission, the Pony 
Express, the telegraph, and the military subpost at Deer 
Creek are examined. 

Six Decades Back. By Charles S. Walgamott. Introduction 
by Leonard J. Arrington. Moscow: University of Idaho 
Press, 1990. Originally published in two volumes: Twin 
i Falls: Idaho Citizen, 1926 and 1928. Illustrated. Appen- 

dix, xviii and 358 pp. Paper $18.95. 

Having traveled from Iowa, Charles S. Walgamott and 
a friend arrived at Rock Creek Station, Idaho Territory, in 
1875. The friend remained only several months, returning 
to Iowa, but Walgamott stayed in Idaho for many years. 
During this time he mined, ranched, trapped, and served 
as a supplier to gold mining areas and as a hotel keeper. 
After spending several years in Montana, he returned to 
Idaho and realized that many of the new settlers did not 
know about the early history of Idaho Territory. Hoping 
to correct that, he set about writing his reminiscences. This 
book has fifty-five chapters on such topics as the discovery 
of gold in the Snake River, early mail and transportation, 
frontier justice, irrigation, and the relationship between In- 
dians and Whites. 

Famous Indian Chiefs I Have Known. By Major General O.O. 
Howard. Introduction by Bruce J. Dinges. Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1989. Originally pub- 
lished: New York: Century Company, 1908. Illus- 
trated, xix and 364 pp. Cloth $28.95. Paper $9.95. 

Major General O.O. Howard, whose military career 
spanned four decades, was a supporter of Native 
Americans. Known as the "Christian soldier," or "pray- 
ing general," Howard, in his writings, "attempted to alert 
people in the East to injustices perpetrated against the 
western tribes." President U.S. Grant in 1872 sent Howard 
on a mission of peace to the western Indian tribes. Out 
of this experience came Famous Indian Chiefs I Have Known. 
He met and wrote about Washakie, Cochise, Captain Jack, 
Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, and 
several Alaskan chiefs among others. In the introduction, 
Bruce J. Dinges writes that "Indians found in Howard a 
benevolent friend, sympathetic listener, and strong voice 
for fairness, humanity, and justice. Nowhere are these 
qualities more plainly and eloquently stated than in Fatuous 
Indian Chiefs I Have Known." 



SUMMER 1991 

Ten Tough Trips: Montana Writers and the West. By William 
W. Bevis. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 
1990. Index. Select Bibliography. Notes, xv and 233 pp. 
Cloth $24.95. 

William W. Bevis, a professor of English at the Univer- 
sity of Montana, looks at "key issues of western identity" 
by exploring the works of ten Montana authors in Ten 
Tough Trips. The book is divided into three sections. Part 
I, "Treasure Islands of the West," includes four stories set 
in the nineteenth century by A.B. Guthrie, Andrew Gar- 
cia, and Nannie Alderson. The subject of Part II, "The 
Hearts of My People," is the Native American culture and 
literature and is explored through the writings of Frank 
Linderman, D'Arcy McNickle, and James Welch. Excerpts 
from the works of Richard Hugo, Ivan Doig, and Norman 
Maclean are found in Part III, "Making Certain It Goes 

Wigwam Evenings: Sioux Folk Tales Retold. By Charles A. 
Eastman (Ohiyesa) and Elaine Goodale Eastman. In- 
troduction by Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich. Lin- 
coln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Originally 
published: Boston: Little, Brown, 1909. Illustrated, xii 
and 253 pp. Cloth $25.00. Paper $7.95. 

tains in Canada and the United States from the home of 
buffalo to today's raising of cattle, sheep, horses, wildlife, 
and a few crops. The author uses excerpts of the first- 
person accounts to explore such topics as how the buffalo 
were saved from extinction, what type of grazing benefits 
livestock and wildlife, and why it's best not to plow the 

The Gibraltar: Socialism and Labor in Butte, Montana, 
1895-1920. By Jerry W. Calvert. Helena: Montana 
Historical Society Press, 1988. Illustrated. Index. 
Bibliography. Notes, viii and 189 pp. Cloth $21.95. 

In 1911 the people of Butte, Montana, elected a socialist 
mayor. By this action, Butte became one of the largest cities 
in the United States ever to be governed by members of 
the Socialist Party. Jerry W. Calvert, in this book, examines 
the sudden rise, dominance, and then decline of the 
Socialists in Butte, a copper-mining community. He studies 
the bombing of the Butte Miners' Union Hall which oc- 
curred on June 23, 1914. To explain the violence the author 
studies the longtime tension between labor and manage- 
ment and the role that militant unionism and socialism 
played in that struggle. 

In this book, Charles A. Eastman, a mixed-blood Sioux, 
and his wife, Elaine Goodale Eastman, during the first part 
of the twentieth century compiled a condensed sampling 
of the Sioux' values. "Sprinkled throughout Wigwam Even- 
ings are the seeds of Sioux thought, legends of monsters, 
origin myths accounting for the presence in the world of 
war and strife." A better understanding of "Sioux 
cosmology, polity, and social intercourse" can be gained 
through these writings. 

The Range. By Sherm Ewing. Missoula, Montana: Moun- 
tain Press Publishing Company, 1990. Illustrated. In- 
dex. Bibliography. Notes. Map. xvii and 284 pp. Cloth 
$24.95. Paper $12.95. 

Sherm Ewing, a rancher and past president of the 
Western Stock Growers' Association, interviewed forty- 
four ranchers, specialists, and land managers, in order to 
chart the evolution of the eastern slope of the Rocky Moun- 

The Benteen-Goldin Letters on Custer and His Last Battle. 
Edited by John M. Carroll. Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1991. Originally published: New York: 
Liveright, 1974. Illustrated. Index, xxiv and 312 pp. 
Paper $9.95. 

For five years (1891-1896) Captain Frederick W. Ben- 
teen, commander of Troop H, Seventh Cavalry, and Cor- 
poral Theodore W. Goldin, who fought in Major Marcus 
A. Reno's command at the Little Big Horn, exchanged let- 
ters. Only Benteen's letters survive, but in these are a 
record of the Battle of the Little Big Horn as well as Ben- 
teen's views of Custer and his wife, Libby, Reno, and 
Generals Terry and Miles. Also included in the book are 
letters from Goldin to historians E.A. Brininstool and Fred 
Dustin, as well as two accounts by Benteen about the Bat- 
tle of the Little Big Horn. John M. Carroll does not find 
the letters filled with "historic truths," but does believe 
they are important historic documents. 


.NNALS of 

Volume 63, No. 4 

Fall, 1991 








In 1895 the state of Wyoming established a department to 
collect and preserve materials which interpret the history 
of Wyoming. Today those duties are performed by the 
Division of Parks and Cultural Resources in the Depart- 
ment of Commerce. Located in the department are the 
State Historical Research Library, the State Archives, the 
State Museum, the State Art Gallery, the State Historic 
Sites, and the State Historic Preservation Office. The 
Department solicits original records such as diaries, letters, 
books, early newspapers, maps, photographs and records 
of early businesses and organizations as well as artwork 
and artifacts for museum exhibit. The Department asks for 
the assistance of all Wyoming citizens to secure these 
documents and artifacts. 




Bringing togelher experts in history, archaeology, 
ethnology, regional literature, sociology, folklore, 
and historic architecture, the conference will 
examine what has been written about the history 
of Wyoming and identify gaps in research. There 
is no more appropriate lime than the Centennial 
year to evaluate the scholarship of the past and 
point the way for historians of the future. 

September 6-7, 1990 

Hitching Posl Inn 
Cheyenne, Wyoming 

Mike Sullivan 

Max Maxfield 

David Kathka 



George Zeimens, Lingle 

Frances Fisher, Saratoga 

Pam Rankin, Jackson 

Karin Cyrus-Strid, Gillette 

David Peck, Lovell 

Norval Waller, Sundance 

Jere Bogrett, Riverton 

Mary Ellen McWilliams, Sheridan 

Hale Kreycik, Douglas 


OFFICERS, 1991-1992 

Dale J. Morris, President, Green River 

Walter Edens, First Vice-President, Laramie 

Sally Vanderpoel, Second Vice-President, Torrington 

Sherry Taylor, Secretary, Casper 

Gladys Hill, Treasurer, Douglas 

David Kathka, Executive-Secretary 

Judy West, State Coordinator 

COVER PHOTOGRAPH courtesy Wi/onimg State Museum, 
Paul Jacques, photographer. 

Historians from around the state gathered in Cheyenne during 
Wyoming's Centennial Year to examine the status of Wyoming 
history. The papers presented at the conference examined what 
topics have been studied, hoiv well they have been studied, and 
what remains to be studied. 



Volume 63, No. 4 
Fall, 1991 


Rick Ewig, Editor 

Jean Brainerd, Associate Editor 

Roger Joyce, Assistant Editor 

Ann Nelson, Assistant Editor 

Paula West Chavoya, Photographic Editor 


Michael Cassity 
Roy Jordan 
David Kathka 
William H. Moore 
Robert L. Munkres 
Philip J. Roberts 

ANNALS OF WYOMING was established 
in 1923 to disseminate historical information 
about Wyoming and the West through the 
publication of articles and documents. The 
editors of ANNALS OF WYOMING wel- 
come manuscripts on every aspect of 
Wyoming and Western history. 

Authors should submit two typed, double- 
spaced copies of their manuscripts with 
footnotes placed at the end. Manuscripts 
submitted should conform to A MANUAL 
OF STYLE (University of Chicago Press). 
The Editor reserves the right to submit all 
manuscripts to members of the Editorial 
Advisory Board or to authorities in the 
field of study for recommendations. Pub- 
lished articles represent the view of the 
authors and are not necessarily those of the 
Division of Parks and Cultural Resources, 
Department of Commerce or the Wyoming 
State Historical Society. 







An Agenda for the Future . , . . .-> 

by David Kathka 


by T.A. Larson 

Opportunities for Study 125 

by Colin G. Calloway 

Historiography and the 19th Century 131 

by John D. McDermott 

by Carl V. Hallberg 

1868-1885 139 

by A. Dudley Gardner 

by Don Hodgson 

by Sherry L. Smith 
RURAL WOMEN WORKING: Naming and Evaluating 

Women's Non-Wage Labor 153 

by Katherine Jensen 

by Roy A. Jordan 

Indian Water Rights and the Wind River Case 164 

by Michael A. Massie 


by Robert W. Righter 


by Rheba Massey 


INDEX 177 

ANNALS OF WYOMING is published quarterly by the Division of Parks and 
Cultural Resources, Department of Commerce, Barrett Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 
82002. It is received by all members of the Wyoming State Historical Society as the 
official publication of that organization. Membership dues are: Single $9; Joint $12; 
Institutional $20; Life $LSO; Joint Life $200. Current membership is 1,975. Copies of 
previous and current issues of ANNALS may be purchased from the Editor. Cor- 
respondence should be addressed to the Editor. ANNALS OF WYOMING articles 
are abstracted in Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life. 

© Copyright \99\ by the Division of Parks and Cultural Resource.^, Department ot Commerce 


An Agenda for the Future 

by David Kathka 

In the fall of 1990 a group of historians interested in 
various aspects of Wyoming history met in Cheyenne to 
share their views about what has been accomplished in the 
telling of Wyoming's story, and what yet needs to be told 
as Wyoming moves into its second century of statehood. 
The conference received partial funding from the Wyoming 
Council for the Humanities, an independent, non-profit 
organization that receives grants from the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities and gifts from other sources and 
regrants these funds to projects that promote a better 
understanding of the humanities. The Centennial Con- 
ference was organized by John D. McDermott of Sheridan. 
Those of us associated with Annals of Wyoming believe the 
papers presented at this conference deserve a wider hear- 
ing and therefore chose to publish this special issue of the 

Most of the papers presented at the Centennial Con- 
ference are included in this Annals of Wi/oming. We were 
unable to include all that were submitted for lack of space 
and some presenters were unable to provide them in an 
appropriate format. Mark Junge's presentation, for exam- 
ple, depended heavily upon a slide show. We do, how- 
ever, believe that what is presented here is representative 
of the Centennial Conference and demonstrates how well 
its goal of assessing the status of Wyoming historiography 
was achieved. We hope our readers will find this in- 
teresting, but most of all we hope they will find topics to 
investigate and consequently to add to our knowledge of 
Wyoming history. If that happens, the goal of the con- 
ference and of Annals of Wyoming will have been achieved. 

The introductory essay reviews the recommendations 
made at the Centennial Conference and the papers 
published here. I have tried to organize the recommenda- 
tions somewhat differently than they were organized at 
the conference. For example, I have attempted to group 

all the recommendations for biographies together in my 
essay; I have attempted to highlight some of the common 
threads running through the essays and their author's 
recommendation for future research. 

History depends upon people and there is a need for 
many biographical studies. Certainly, T. A. Larson notes, 
Francis E. Warren deserves a major biography as does Gale 
McGee, Teno Roncalio, and perhaps in future years Dick 
Cheney. There is a need for a number of studies of Indian 
leaders in Wyoming, not only those who led the Indian 
people in the nineteenth century, but also those who have 
assumed leadership in the twentieth century. Studies of 
Indian leaders' actions during times of peace are needed 
as well as studies of Indian war leaders. John McDermott 
points out a need for updated studies of famous moun- 
tain men Jim Bridger and Thomas Fitzpatrick, as well as 
new studies of the Sublette brothers, the Richard brothers, 
the Janis brothers, James Bordeaux, Joseph Bissonette, 
Joseph Knight, Sefrey lot, and Big Bat Fourier. Military 
figures played a prominent role in the latter half of the 
nineteenth century and it is suggested that treatments of 
George Crook, Nelson Miles, C. C. Ord, Henry Carr- 
ington, and Ranald MacKenzie are needed. Much of the 
work done on European and Asian ethnic groups in 
Wyoming fails to develop individuals to any extent. Who 
were the leaders in Wyoming's Asian communities, both 
Japanese and Chinese? Who were the leaders in the 
Hispanic communities, the Jewish communities, the Ger- 
mans from Russia? Efforts to study these groups are still 
in their infancy, but as they develop we should remember 
that biographies might be very useful in understanding 
many elements of the group's history. The essays of 
Katherine Jensen and Sherry Smith emphasize that 
through the study of individual women may emerge larger 
understandings of families in Wyoming and other social 



and cultural relationships. Perhaps the heads of state agen- 
cies and institutions during critical periods are worthy 
subjects. Others who might be worthy of biographical 
study include Frank Barrett, Clifford Hansen, Milward 
Simpson, Joe Hickey, Lester Hunt, John Kendrick, Joseph 
O'Mahoney, Malcolm Wallop, and Alan Simpson. 

Historians of the American West have been engaged 
recently in debate about what is important in the West and 
the historians who participated in the Centennial Con- 
ference are themselves, implicitly and explicitly, part of that 
debate. Paul Fees of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 
whose paper about Intellectual History in Wyoming is not 
published here, argued that the new western historians 
might be attempting to replace the myths of the West, but 
myths, he argues, are "irreplaceable in helping us to define 
what kind of people we have been." Historians, he 
believes, must continue to consider the myths of the West 
in attempting to understand Wyoming culture. Other 
historians at theconference argued that the questions deal- 
ing with cowboys and the myths of "self-reliance" and 
"rugged individualism" are no longer valid questions. In 
fact, Roy A. Jordan's essay, "Water and Wyoming's Cul- 
ture," argues that concentration on western myths has led 
historians and other students of Wyoming's culture to ask 
the wrong questions. There are numerous indications that 
many Wyoming historians are acknowledging the need to 
ask new questions— some of which have been raised by 
the new western historians— while not directly engaging 
in the debate. 

The conference raised many questions about ethnicity 
in Wyoming. There are opportunities to study group pre- 
judices. What has been Wyoming's response to racism? 
This should be looked at in terms of emigrant groups as 
well as Arapahoe and Shoshone. We need to examine the 
experiences of all the ethnic groups and we need to have 
studies that compare ethnic groups. What differences 
existed between and among various ethnic, rural set- 
tlements? How did the experiences of ethnic groups en- 
gaged in mining coal differ? How did the Chinese in 
Wyoming contribute to the making of this state; certainly 
there is more to the experience than the Chinese massacre. 
We hope Dudley Gardner's study in progress will help us 
to better understand the Asian experience in Western 
America. Don Hodgson suggests that there are questions 
to be answered regarding the transition of Germans from 
Russia as migrant beet workers to renters and landowners 
and the same sort of question could be asked about most 
groups. Women have frequently been left out of Wyoming 
history except in the stories surrounding the "tea party," 
Elinore Pruitt Stewart's homestead, and Nellie Tayloe 
Ross' election as first female governor. There is room for 
much more including the fundamental examination of 
Wyoming as "The Equality State." Katherine Jensen's 

essay suggests many questions that need to be answered 
about women and work in Wyoming. What also have been 
the experiences of women in Wyoming who represent dif- 
ferent cultures? 

The study of Wyoming history has not, according to 
most of the historians at the conference, suffered from a 
lack of sources. Indeed, most of the papers noted there are 
many rich sources of Wyoming history yet to be touched. 
John McDermott notes that the enlisted man's experiences 
in Wyoming can be reconstructed with the use of six im- 
portant serial publications that have not been fully used. 
T. A. Larson notes that the F. E. Warren letterbooks await 
the biographer of Warren. Don Hodgson suggests that the 
naturalization records provide information that might be 
studied using quantitative techniques to reveal much about 
the Germans from Russia. This would of course be true 
for other ethnic groups as well. Robert Righter promotes 
the use of the Wyoming State Archives for the official 
records of governors as well as various state agencies. His 
study of Grand Teton National Park would have benefited, 
he says, from an examination of the State of Wyoming's 
perspective. Colin Calloway also points to the Wyoming 
State Archives as one repository of valuable sources on In- 
dian history. 

There are a number of other topics that need to be ex- 
amined. T. A. Larson wrote a brief overview essay about 
the Wyoming Legislature as an introduction to the Centen- 
nial edition of the session laws. A study of the Wyoming 
legislature is needed. The recent reorganization of Wyo- 
ming State Government was carried out with little refer- 
ence to or understanding of past reorganizations. Perhaps, 
even though a history would not benefit this current at- 
tempt, a study of state government reorganization over the 
past one hundred years would be helpful for the next time. 
Wyoming continues to be considered a colonial state while 
many other Western states escaped that status by mid- 
twentieth century. Wyoming and a few other Western 
states still continue to struggle with the perception— 
internally and externally— that they are dependent on out- 
side corporations and the federal government. We need 
a thorough study. We also need histories of the executive 
branch of state government— the various agencies as well 
as the governors. We need to look at how Supreme Court 
decisions have influenced the state's development. Water 
may be a good example. 

There are tremendous opportunities for learning more 
about Wyoming's history presented above and in the pages 
that follow. We at A)j}iii}s of Wi/ottiiiig urge our readers, 
whatever their training, to look into some of these areas, 
to share their feelings, and to leave future historians new 
studies and new interpretations to challenge and enlarge 
their understanding of Wyoming. 



An Overview 

by T. A. Larson 

Turn our eyes in any direction and we find Wyoming 
history— coffee tables, libraries, archives, museums, 
historical societies, genealogical societies, the Wyoming 
Council for the Humanities, oral history, school rooms, and 
the news media. Never before have people been so in- 
volved in Wyoming history. 

Our library shelves fifty years ago were not nearly as 
well stocked with Wyoming history books as they are in 
this Centennial Year. Some of the better known standbys 
were books by Hubert H. Bancroft, Charles G. Coutant, 
Ichabod S. Bartlett, Frances B. Beard, and Alfred J. Mokler. 
Frederick Jackson Turner and Walter Prescott Webb taught 
us the significance of the frontier and the Great Plains. 
Cecil J. Alter told us about Jim Bridger and LeRoy R. Hafen 
about Fort Laramie. Edward E. Dale, Ernest S. Osgood, 
and Louis Pelzer covered the cattlemen. All the school 
children read Grace Raymond Hebard's books. Civics, 
History and Government of Wyoming, and Pathbreakers from 
River to Ocean. Cora A. Beach's two-volume work. Women 
of Wyoming, was popular. 

The U.S.S.R. gave Wyoming history a boost in 1925. 
Labor troubles in that year were blamed on communistic 
ideas, which had to be rooted out. To ensure right think- 
ing, the Wyoming Legislature passed a law that mandated 
instruction "on the essentials of the United States Con- 
stitution and the Constitution of this State, including the 
study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals." 
One way or another, some Wyoming history instruction 
has been, ever since, a part of our curricula from the fourth 
grade to college-level. 

During the 1930s Wyoming history got another boost, 
this one from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) 
Writers Project, which produced Wyoming, A Guide to Its 
History, Highzvays, and People. Noteworthy also is Marie H. 
Erwin's Wyoming Historical Blue Book 1868-1943 (Denver, 
1946). In 1974 Virginia Cole Trenholm edited and re-issued 
Mrs. Erwin's ponderous book in two volumes and updated 
it in a third volume. In 1990 a fourth volume is in progress. 

Early in the century some of my professors distin- 
guished between current events and history. What 
happened in the most recent fifty years was considered 
current events, not history, because too many transitory 
influences made sound, reliable judgments impossible. By 
1990, however, few historians draw such a line. Indeed, 
most people seem to get their history from the news media, 
which normally blend events of the day with those of 
yesterday and times past. And Wyoming historians are fre- 
quently consulted by the media for background informa- 
tion. Likewise, tourism promoters involve historians 
through pleas for voluntary assistance. 

A new State Department of Commerce has been 
established in 1990. It has three divisions. Parks & Cultural 
Resources, Tourism and State Marketing, and Economic 
& Community Development. Thus the old Archives, 
Museums and Historical Department (AMH) has been 
folded into the Department of Commerce, with a new 
name. Cultural Resources. And Dr. David Kathka, head 
of the eliminated AMH Department becomes director of 
the Parks and Cultural Resources Division. Kathka retains 
his position as State Historical Preservation Officer (SHPO) 



T. A. Larson 

and Executive Secretary of the State Historical Society. 
Ivory tower historians may mutter about strange bed- 
fellows in the new Department of Commerce. If they do, 
some legislator surely would say something about "the real 

Some of us will miss the AMH Department. It has 
ancient roots, but a rather recent year, 1953, stands out in 
its evolutionary development. That was the year when Lola 
Homsher, a great lady, led a drive to take the position she 
held, state historian, out of politics, and to create the 
Archives and Records Management division. In the same 
year she led in organizing the Wyoming State Historical 
Society which, with its now twenty-two chapters is 
flourishing in 1990. One of its standout achievements is 
building History Day activities, which in the past eleven 
years has involved hundreds of middle school and high 
school students and their teachers. Noteworthy too are the 
state society's popular annual treks and its recent decision 
to publish annually four issues of Aiumls of Wyotniu^, in- 
stead of two. In the past twenty years the state society has 

increased its membership from thirteen hundred to eigh- 
teen hundred, almost 40 per cent. Curiously, in the same 
twenty years, the Western History Association, which is 
now thirty years old, has fallen in membership from 
twenty-four hundred to 1,612, about 33 per cent. 

Much local history has been collected in connection 
with the work of the State Historical Preservation Officer 
(currently Kathka) and the State Recreation Commission 
established in 1966. National Register recognition has been 
obtained for several hundred places. Meanwhile, museums, 
also under Kathka's jurisdiction, multiply, contrary to my 
opinion that we would be better served by fewer and better 

Significant among history-related projects in recent 
years, under various auspices, are restorations at Fort 
Bridger and South Pass City, state acquisition of In- 
dependence Rock, development of the world-class Buffalo 
Bill Historical Center, and the restoration of the Territorial 
Penitentiary at Laramie. The restored prison, dating from 
1872, is projected to be the center of an ambitious theme 
park, with segments presenting Natural History, Indians, 
the Rush for Riches, Settlement, Transportation, Economic 
Development, Government and Politics, and the Military. 
Developing all too slowly is Fort Laramie, Wyoming's 
No. 1 historic site. The state purchased the famous 214-acre 
site in 1937 and donated it to the federal government, 
which designated it first as a National Monument and later 
as a National Historic Site. 

There is more interdisciplinary activity than formerly. 
History students who once minored in literature, eco- 
nomics, political science, sociology, and foreign languages, 
now get further assistance from geography, women's 
studies. Black studies, anthropology, and archaeology. 
Perhaps two hundred professional archaeologists work 
where fifty years ago there were very few, and significant 
sites multiply. 

In the realm of historical collections management, 
David L. Baker replaced Gene Gressley two years ago as 
director of the American Heritage Center (AHC) at the 
University of Wyoming. Director Baker reports among re- 
cent changes, the appointment of Tom Wilsted as associate 
director, and the acquisition of computer equipment with 
which to enter collection information on a national data- 
base. Abstracts of nine thousand collections have been 
prepared and are now available in the AHC Reading Room 
and at the Coe Library Reference Desk. Also, Baker adds 
that the AHC has been opened to the public and Satur- 
day use of the reading room has been scheduled for the 
first time. The ground-breaking ceremon\' for the new 



FALL 1991 

nineteen million dollar American Heritage Center and Art 
Museum is scheduled for October 8, 1990. 

Professor David S. Danbom in a review essay on "The 
State of State History," published in the April, 1990, issue 
of the Annals of Iowa, declares that "The practice of writing 
histories of states, widely predicted to be doomed as late 
as two decades ago, has undergone a renaissance in re- 
cent years." He attributes the renaissance to publication 
of the W. W. Norton set, one for each state, to local pride, 
to a growing interest in searching for our roots, and to a 
belief that state history "is one of the few subjects remain- 
ing about which scholars in an increasingly professional- 
ized and desiccated discipline can say anything that in- 
terests intelligent lay people." In Wyoming the Centen- 
nial Celebration has certainly stimulated statewide interest, 
and so has the excellent instruction in our seven commu- 
nity colleges, none of which even existed fifty years ago. 
Not to be overlooked are the fine teachers in the fourth 
grade required course and the excellent textbooks which 
some of them have written. 

I first joined the University of Wyoming history depart- 
ment to teach courses for which I was well prepared- 
Medieval History, Renaissance and Reformation, English 
History, Constitutional History of England, European 
History— but history department needs made me add 
History of Wyoming to my repertoire. I knew nothing 
about it except what I had learned during four delightful 
summers working in Yellowstone Park. When I taught my 
first Wyoming history class in 1939 1 had no textbook. With 
only fifteen students I was able to place various books on 
reserve for all to read. Teaching twelve hours a week, I 
slighted preparation for my other courses in order to read 
extensively in Wyoming history. 1 investigated in many 
directions, doing what amounted to rather shallow re- 
search all over the place, even publishing a few articles. 
I was also the university's tennis coach and was learning 
fly fishing and skiing. 

When the war reduced the university's enrollment to 
six hundred in January, 1943, I accepted a recruiter's offer 
of a commission in the Navy and got a leave of absence. 
On my way out, the history department head, Laura 
White, urged me to plan on writing a book when the war 
was over, relating the war's impact on the state, and the 
state's contribution to victory. After the war. Dr. White 
lived only long enough to see me well launched on the war 
history project, but it took me until 1954 to complete it. 
The slow progress made it possible to exploit many 
academic and government publications which would not 

have been available earlier, and permitted a final account- 
ing of Wyoming's 1,095 war dead. 

Sad to say, the book, titled Wyoming's War Years, 
1941-1945, had to be subsidized. The university trustees 
put up fifty-five hundred dollars, and I kicked in $840. It 
was a four hundred-page volume, beautifully printed and 
hard-bound by the Stanford University Press. I had to han- 
dle the marketing. It took me six years to sell the fifteen 
hundred copies printed, and recover our money. While I 
got good reviews and the trustees gave me a dinner par- 
ty, I made up my mind that I would never again subsidize 
and market a publication. It is too bad that so many books, 
in the nation as well as in Wyoming, must be subsidized. 
Most of the fifty thousand books published in the United 
States last year had only one printing and were remaindered. 

With the war history behind me, I was still not free 
to zero-in on an area of research specialization. I saw a need 
for a one-volume history of the state that would have broad 
appeal for adult readers and would also be appropriate for 
university-level textbook use. Burdened with heavy teach- 
ing and administrative responsibilities, I required eleven 
years for the task. The University of Nebraska Press pub- 
lished it in 1965, 619 pages, with a price tag of only $6.95 
hardback, then published without hesitation my anthology 
of Bill Nye's Western Humor. A few years earlier no press 
would touch the Nye book without a subsidy. 

Another roadblock threatened. President G. D. Hum- 
phrey, who was retiring after a twenty-year reign, wanted 
me to write a history of the university, probably expecting 
me to focus on his contributions. Anticipating problems, 
I managed to dodge that chore. Finally, then, in 1965 I had 
a chance to concentrate on a major special interest, the 
woman suffrage movement in Western America. I envi- 
sioned a magnum opus. Ten of the first eleven states to 
give women suffrage were in the West. Wyoming was first 
of the ten. Why was the West out front? What were the 
interstate relationships? In 1953 I published my first arti- 
cle about the subject in the Pacific Northwest Quarterly. In 
1966 I read a paper on the subject at the annual meeting 
of the Organization of American Historians. Supplying my 
own travel funds, most of the time, I pursued the answers 
in twenty libraries, mainly in western states, but also in 
the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, and 
the libraries of Smith College and Radcliffe College. I 
published ten suffrage articles in six scholarly journals. I 
left my work in California partially unfinished, waiting for 
a doctoral candidate at Santa Barbara to complete her dis- 
sertation, which she failed to do. Also I waited for a Yale 
student to complete her somewhat overlapping study in 



the Northwest. The Yale University Press hired me to cri- 
tique her study before publication. 

I planned to round out my suffrage manuscript after 
retirement in 1975. Two university presses were seeking 
publication rights. Then Governor Ed Herschler came to 
Laramie and convinced me to run for the state legislature, 
something that had never entered my mind. No UW 
faculty member, active or retired, had ever served in the 
legislature. It was a fateful decision because the legislature 
took much more time than I had anticipated, and my eight 
years on the appropriations committee gave me so much 
interest in contemporary problems that woman suffrage 
seemed dull by comparison. Updating my state history 
book also took time. Meanwhile, I accepted an invitation 
to do the Wyoming volume in the Norton set of state 
histories. Later, when I chose to retire from the legislature 
at age seventy-four, the American Association of Retired 

Persons persuaded me to take on a four-year lobbying 

Now at age eighty I find writing much more difficult 
for me, and activities which I give higher priorities take 
all my time. Moreover, the suffrage states whose cam- 
paigns I studied acted with so much independence that 
tying them together in one package makes less sense than 
I anticipated. So, almost certainly, the magnum opus will 
remain on the shelf, unfinished, and anyone who wants 
my story will have to look for it in the ten articles and 
several books in which I have presented it piecemeal. 

In his invitation to speak here. Jack McDermott in- 
dicated that I might, if I wished, say something about 
topics that need to be investigated in Wyoming history. 
I hesitate to say that anything really needs to be studied, 
except contemporary problems, but I shall offer some 
topics that might attract my attention if I had another 
lifetime ahead of me. 

hiB *'mm ^nOtmti Hi 


Wi/oniiii^^'s Territorial Prison is todiu/ a state historic site. 



FALL 1991 

Drawing on geography, sociology, government, and 
economics, I would like to study the positive and negative 
aspects of the interrelationship between the metropolis, 
Denver, and its hinterland in Wyoming since 1868. I have 
found stimulating insights in a new book by J. M. S. 
Careless, Frontier and Metropolis: Regions, Cities, and Iden- 
tities in Canada Before 1914, published by the University of 
Toronto Press, Toronto, in 1989. 

Doing a biography of Francis E. Warren has looked like 
a good idea to me ever since 1940 when I hauled the first 
installment of Warren's letterbooks from Cheyenne to 
Laramie. I used some of the letterbooks in writing my 
Histonj of Wyoming. Four of my M.A. students depended 
mainly on them when they wrote their theses in the late 
1940s. Lewis L. Gould made much use of Warren's early 
letterbooks in writing his excellent book, Wyoming, A 
Political History, 1868-1896. Beginning in the 1960s a Univer- 
sity of Illinois doctoral candidate, Duane Rose, spent 
twenty or more summers in Laramie reading all the letter- 
books. Rose retired from his teaching job at Slippery Rock 
State University in Pennsylvania last year. He wrote to me 
recently: "I expect to have more time available in the future 
for my protracted study . . . ." 

U.S. Senator and Ambassador to the Organization of 
American States, Gale W. McGee, would be an appropriate 
subject for a biography after he completes his memoirs, 
on which he is now working. After a few more years, 
former President Ford's Chief of Staff, Dick Cheney, who 
is now President Bush's Secretary of Defense, might well 
have the stature warranting a biography. 

Although there have been many studies of water, 
water law, and reclamation, that general area offers op- 
portunities for further study. The Wind River and Bighorn 
Basins are in the forefront in 1990. Wyoming oil and gas, 
trona, uranium, and coal all offer attractive opportunities 
for comprehensive studies. 

Computer storage, retrieval, and word processing 
potentials now available are overwhelming. Had they been 
available fifty years ago, scholars of my generation could 
have written better books and twice as many, although 
marketing such an output might have been impossible. 

In conclusion, I want to thank Jack McDermott and the 
Wyoming Council for the Humanities for organizing this 
Conference. I do not recall a previous history conference 
like it in Wyoming. 



Needs and Opportunities for Study 

by Colin G. Calloway 

.■'--*sife' -, 

Washakie's batid and cncanipiitcnt, Wimi River Mountains, IS70. 



FALL 1991 

Long before I moved to the United States, I felt I would 
spend my life studying Plains Indian history. When I came 
to the University of Wyoming I thought this was my chance 
to get into some serious research on the northern plains. 
But aside from a couple of articles about the Crows and 
a piece about the Eastern Shoshones that I wrote for the 
Annals, my time and efforts in recent years have been 
pretty well monopolized by the Abenaki Indians of Ver- 
mont. I have been away from Wyoming for more than a 
year doing more research on eastern Indians, and with the 
Abenakis about to bring suit for the return of Vermont and 
New Hampshire, I look set to be spending the next several 
years caught up in that area. So I feel a little out of touch, 
perhaps even uniquely zojqualified to survey the current 
state of Indian history in Wyoming. However, as a York- 
shireman masquerading as an Indian historian, I long ago 
learned to make a virtue of necessity and to stress the im- 
portance of an outsider's viewpoint in attaining balance 
and objectivity. In that vein, I would like to try and sell 
you these comments as a global, rather than a worm's eye 
view of Indian history in Wyoming. Or I could just call my 
talk: "Things that need to be done even though I'm not 
doing them myself." 

Wyoming has some major advantages for the study of 
Indian history. The Wind River Reservation is one of the 
largest reservations in the country, home to the Eastern 
Shoshones and Northern Arapahoes, who found them- 
selves reluctant neighbors in the 1870s at the dictates of 
government policy but who, despite persistent differences, 
have conducted their affairs in the twentieth century 
through a Joint Business Council. The Northern Cheyenne 
and Crow reservations lie just across the border. Crows, 
Cheyennes, Shoshones, Kiowas, Comanches, Gros Ven- 
tres, and Lakotas have all entered the region's history at 
one time or another. The American Heritage Center (AHC) 
at the University of Wyoming, the Plains Indian Museum 
in Cody, and the State Archives in Cheyenne all contain 
valuable sources regarding Indian history. The Western 
History Collection of the Denver Public Library, the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs' Wind River Agency Files in the Denver 
Branch of the Federal Archives and Records Center, and 
the BIA records at Fort Washakie are all within reach. Far- 
ther afield, there are materials about Wyoming Indians in 
the Graff and Ayer collections of the Newberry Library in 
Chicago, in the Western Americana Collection at Yale (we 
have microfilm copies of much of that collection at the 
university's Coe Library), and of course in the National 
Archives and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, 

D.C. The opportunities for studying the Indian history of 
Wyoming are considerable, to say the least. ^ 

However, to judge by the titles one sees in Wyoming 
bookstores and the interests of many of my students, 
historians have made little headway in dispelling the 
notion that Indians are warbonneted warriors who lived 
in the last century. We have more books about the bloody 
and atypical moments of the Fetterman battle, the Wagon 
Box fight, the siege of Fort Phil Kearny, and Fort Laramie's 
role in the Indian wars than about all of the other ten, 
twelve, or however many thousand years Indian people 
have lived in Wyoming. ^ "Indian wars" continue to 
dominate popular thinking, perpetuating a distorted view 
of Native American historical experiences. 

There are some useful books about Wyoming's Indian 
past and present. Virginia Cole Trenholm's study of the 
Arapahoes and her jointly authored (with Maurine Carley) 
book about the Shoshones provide standard narratives of 
Wyoming's two tribes. ^ But they concentrate heavily on 
tribal relations with the United States Government after 
the arrival of Lewis and Clark and before the twentieth cen- 
tury. Lewis and Clark entered an Indian world that was 
already in flux, yet we know little about the experiences 
of Shoshones, Arapahoes, Cheyennes, Crows, and other 
Indian peoples in Wyoming prior to their arrival.^ More 
recently, Loretta Fowler has written a prize-winning study 
of Arapahoe Politics, 1851-1978.^ Fowler's book has, in some 
circles, attained the status of being "the book" on Wyo- 
ming Indian history, which is unfortunate. One good book 

1. For one printed collection of the kind of documents available see 
Dale L. Morgan, ed., "Washakie and the Shoshoni: A Selection of 
Documents from the Records of the Utah Superintendency of Indian 
Affairs," Annals ofWi/ondng 25 (1953): 141-188; 26 (1954): 65-80, 141-90; 
27 (1955): 61-88, 198-220; 28 (1956): 80-93, 193-207; 29 (1957): 86-102, 
195-227; 30 (1958): 53-89. 

2. There are, nonetheless, some fine studies of these subjects; for ex- 
ample, Paul L. Hedren, Fort Laramie in 1876: Chronicle of a Frontier 
Post at War (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988). George C. 
Prison, Prehistoric Hunters of the High Plains (New York: Academic 
Press, 1978), provides a valuable introduction to the pre-contact history 
of the region. 

3. Virginia Trenholm, The Arapahoes: Our People (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1970); and Virginia Trenholm and Maurine Carley, 
The Shoshonis: Sentinels of the Rockies (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1964). 

4. Colin G. Calloway, "Snake Frontiers: The Eastern Shoshones in the 
Eighteenth Century," Annals of Wyoming 63 (Summer 1991): 82-92. 
The best study of Lewis and Clark in Indian country is James P. 
Ronda, Leivis and Clark among the Indians (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1984). 

5. Loretta Fowler, Arapahoe PoUtics, 1851-1978: Symbols hi Crises of Author- 
ity (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982). 



on General Custer has never discouraged other aspirant 
biographers, and Fowler's study should be regarded as an 
example of the kind and quality of work that can be done, 
not the last word on the subject. Like many products of 
field work, the conclusions offered may well be subject to 
the "it depends on whom you talk to" qualification. It 
should be noted that Fowler, Ake Hultkrantz, Demitri 
Shimkin, and others who have published extensively on 
the Arapahoes and Shoshones are anthropologists. We 
historians have some catching up to do.'' 

To do so, we need to incorporate an ethnohistorical 
approach in our work, reconstructing Native American 
history with sensitivity to Native American cultural values, 
motivations, and how they understood their experiences. 
I do not advocate that historians of the Indian past should 
retrain as anthropologists or force anthropological theories 
on to the historical data, only that they consider an- 
thropological and native perspectives in order to ask new 
questions and derive new meaning from the same old 

For many people— historians included— there are only 
two identifiable Indians in Wyoming history. Both Saca- 
jawea and Washakie are celebrated for their "contribution" 
to the region's "development," that is for assisting White 
Americans.^ We need to view their actions in the light of 
their own culture, situation, and experience, considering 

6. In addition to Loretta Fowler's work, see for example: Alfred L. 
Kroeber, The Ampmho in Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural 
History 18 (1902-1907), reprinted Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1983; Henry Elkin, "The Northern Arapaho of Wyoming," 
in Ralph Linton, ed.. Acculturation in Seivn American Indian Tribes (New 
York: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1940), pp. 207-255; Ake Hultkrantz, 
"The Indians in Yellowstone Park," Annals of Wyoming 29 (October 
1957): 125-149; idem, "The Shoshones in the Rocky Mountain Area," 
Annals of Wyoming 33 (April 1961): 19-41; and the essays collected or 
listed in Christopher Vecsey, ed.. Belief and Worship in Native North 
America by Ake Hultkrantz (Syracuse University Press, 1981), esp. pp. 
308-310; Demitri B. Shimkin, "Eastern Shoshone," in Warren L. 
D'Azevedo, ed.. Handbook of North American Indians, 11: Great Basin 
(Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1986); idem, 
"Dynamics of Recent Wind River Shoshoni History," American An- 
thropologist n.s. (1942): 451-462; idem, "Wind River Shoshone 
Ethnogeography," Anthropological Records 5, no. 4 (Berkeley: Univer- 
sity of California Publications, 1940-1947), pp. 244-292. 

7. Cf. James Axtell, The European and the Indian: Essays in the Etlniohiston/ 
of Colonial North America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), 
esp. p. 245. 

8. Grace Raymond Hebard, Washakie (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark 
Co., 1930 (is still the standard biography of the Shoshone chief, 
although Peter Wright's essay in R. David Edmunds, ed. American 
Indian Leaders: Studies in Diversity (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1980), pp. 131-151, offers a more up-to-date appraisal. 

not SO much Washakie's contribution to White settlement 
of the state, but rather his contribution to the survival of 
his own people. A simplistic response to this suggestion 
would be to say: Washakie helped the Whites so, from an 
Indian point of view, he must have "sold out." But such 
a response neglects the diversity of tribal situations and 
motivations that made it logical, even necessary, for some 
Indian people to ally with the United States.'* Washakie's 
stereotypical portrayal as a "good Indian" obscures the 
fact that he played a role common in Indian dealings with 
Whites: an intermediary for his people in difficult times. 
Accommodation and cooperation were important strategies 
of survival and sometimes more effective than conflict and 
resistance. We need to follow Loretta Fowler's lead in 
presenting a fuller picture of leaders like Black Coal, 
Medicine Man, Friday, and Sharp Nose of the Arapahoes, 
how they functioned as intermediaries, and how they were 
perceived in their own societies. ^^ We need to get beyond 
Sacajawea and begin to reconstruct the historical ex- 
periences of Native American women in Wyoming. 

Despite the voluminous literature on the subject, In- 
dians and Whites in Wyoming were not fighting all of the 
time." What were they doing between battles? Peaceful 
interaction and coexistence may not be as colorful and 
dramatic as violent confrontation, but they are a signifi- 
cant part of human history, even in Wyoming. 

The fur trade is an obvious area for study. Rocky 
Mountain fur trade historiography has long been dom- 
inated by the "mountain man" and we have no sophis- 
ticated analyses of Indian-White relations to match those 
done in Canada, nor of the process by which arrangements 
of initial mutual benefit worked to reduce Indian econ- 
omies and societies to ultimate dependence.'- There is 

9. Cf. Colin G. Calloway, "The Only Way Open to Us: The Crow Strug- 
gle for Survival in the Nineteenth Century," North Dakota History 53 
(Summer 1986): 24-34. 

10. Fowler, Arapahoe Politics, chapters 1-2. Cf. Thomas W. Dunla\-, VVi>/iV.'^ 
for the Blue Soldiers: Indmn Scouts and Auxiliaries with the U.S. Army, 
1860-1890 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982). 

11. James G. Murphy provides a more balanced study of "The Place of 
the Northern Arapahoes in the Relations between the United States 
and the Indians of the Plains, 1851-187'-1," Aiuials of Wyoming 41 (1969): 
33-61, 203-259. 

12. See for example; Arthur J. Rav, Indians in the Fur Tnidc: Then Role 
as Trappers, Hunters, and Middlemen in the lands SoutlntYst of Hudson 
Bay, 1660-1870 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974); .Arthur 
J. Ray and Donald B. Freeman, "Give Us Good Measure:" An Economic 
Analysis of Relations Between Indians the Hudson's Bai/ Companii Before 
1763 (Toronti): University t>t I'oronto Press, 1983); S\lvia \'aii Kiik, 



FALL 1991 

room for much more work on what role Indians played 
in the fur trade in Wyoming and what role the fur trade 
played in Indian history. How did Euro-American trade 
fit into existing patterns of Indian trade? How did the 
Shoshone rendezvous function as well as the Wyoming 
portion of the vast Indian trading network that reached 
across almost two-thirds of the continent and tied the In- 
dians here into indirect contact with the markets of Europe 
and the Orient?^^ In 1801 a party of "Tattooed Indians" 
(Arapahoes or possibly related Gros Ventres) turned up 
at the Hudson Bay Company post on the Saskatchewan 
after traveling forty-five days to get there. ^^ What might 
the Hudson Bay Company Archives in Winnipeg reveal 
about such long distance trading ventures by Wyoming In- 
dians? How did Shoshone power revive with the American 
fur trade and how did the Shoshone economy adjust to the 
demise of the trade? A thorough study of Shoshone-trader 
relations would be a significant contribution to Wyoming 
history and to fur trade literature: travelers reported 
numerous mixed families of White trappers and Shoshone 
Indians as early as 1837.^^ There are plenty of traders' jour- 
nals, letters, and account books, some in manuscript, many 
in print. We need to work through the haystacks looking 
for the needles that will add to our picture of early con- 
tacts, help trace the ebb and flow of Indian life and peoples 
in early Wyoming, and perhaps give evidence of the im- 
pact of European diseases in the area. 

"Many Tender Ties:" Women in Fur Trade Society in Western Ca)iada, 
1670-1870 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983); Jennifer 
S. H. Brown, Strangers in Blood: Fur Trade Company Families in Indian 
Country (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1980); and 
Richard White, The Roots of Dependency: Subsistence, Environment, and 
Social Change among the Choctaws, Pawnees, and Navajos (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1983). 

13. See the map in W. Raymond Wood, "Plains Trade in Prehistoric and 
Protohistoric Intertribal Relations," in W. R. Wood and Margot 
Liberty, eds.. Anthropology on the Great Plains (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1980), pp. 98-109. 

14. Alice M. Johnson, ed., Saskatchewan journals and Correspondence (Lon- 
don: Hudson's Bay Record Society, 1967), p. 298. On identification 
of Arapahoes in early records, see Hugh Lenox Scott, "The Early 
History and the Names of the Arapaho," American Anthropologist 9 
Guly-September 1907): 545-560. 

15. Aubrey L. Haines, ed.. Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell (Lin- 
coln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965), pp. 113-114. William R. 
Swagerty, "Marriage and Settlement Patterns of Rocky Mountain 
Trappers and Traders," Western Historical Quarterly 11 (1980): 159-180, 
provides an example of the kind of analysis of fur trade relations that 
can be gleaned from the records. 

The fur trade was not the only area of non-violent in- 
teractions. Recent works on the Oregon Trail have pro- 
vided more sensible discussion of Indian-emigrant relations 
to dispel the "circle-the- wagons" image of encounters. ^^ 
But is it not also possible to piece together from records 
and reminiscences a fuller picture of relations at the grass 
roots level, where Indians worked alongside Whites as 
trappers, laborers, and ranch hands, or lived with them 
as neighbors on the reservation? The Laramie Loafers may 
seem an unexciting group in contrast with Crazy Horse 
and Custer, but they have their story also. In later years, 
Wyoming's Indian cowboys and cattle ranchers merit fur- 
ther study. ^^ 

It is time to discard the notion of an "Indian/White 
frontier" as our framework for studying either Indian 
history or Wyoming history. Instead of suggesting that all 
Indians lined up on one side, all Whites on the other, we 
might think instead of a kaleidoscope in which Crows, 
Arapahoes, Shoshones, Cheyennes, Lakotas, English, 
Scots, French-Canadians, Anglo-Americans, Mexicans, 
and immigrants from half a dozen European countries and 
the Orient met and mated, competed and cooperated, 
adapted and adjusted to each other's presence and the en- 
vironment they shared. 

Perhaps more than anything else we need to move the 
study of Indian history in Wyoming into the twentieth cen- 
tury. The Crow warrior Two Leggings avoided discussing 
the painful period after his people were confined to the 
reservation by saying: "Nothing happened after that. We 
just lived .... There is nothing more to tell."^^ Genera- 
tions of historians have done little to disprove Two Leg- 
gings despondent assertion. But the reservation era, which 
so often signals the end of popular narratives of Indian 
history, represents the beginning of a new era of adjust- 
ment and struggle for Indian people and a new era of docu- 
mentary wealth for students and scholars who are in- 
terested in examining how Indian people "just lived." The 
federal government generated enormous quantities of 
paperwork and statistics about its Indian "wards" and 
these data— which are mostly available on microfilm— can 
be mined, computerized, and quantified for information 

16. John D. Unruh, The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants and the Trans- 
Mississippi West, 1840-1860 (Vrhana: University of Illinois Press, 1979), 
chapter 5. 

17. Cf. Paul B. Wilson, Farming and Ranching on the Wind River Indian Reser- 
vation, Wyoming {Ph.D. dissertation. University of Lincoln-Nebraska, 

18. Peter Nabokov, ed., Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior (New 
York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1967), p. 197. 



Scene at Fort Washakie, 
ca. 1890. 

on a variety of aspects of Indian history in the late nine- 
teenth and early twentieth century: family life, band size, 
changes in leadership and politics, economic life, persecu- 
tion and persistence of tribal culture, the workings of the 
BIA machinery on Wind River, and so on. We need to be 
asking new questions, applying some new techniques, and 
doing more Indian "social history" to produce a view of 
historical experiences that comes from Indian communities 
rather than from Washington. ^^ 

The reservation era witnessed a sustained assault on 
tribal life via allotment, missionaries, and education. All 
of these topics merit full length scholarly studies. As 
elsewhere in North America, we need to consider the com- 
plexities of what is too often glossed over as "conversion." 
When Arapahoes became Catholics and Shoshones became 
Episcopalians, did they jettison their traditional beliefs? If 
the evidence from elsewhere in the country is any guide, 
the answer is probably not. The Reverend John Roberts 

Cf., for example: Melissa L. Meyer and Russell Thornton, "Indians 
and the Numbers Game: Quantitative Methods in Native American 
History," and James Riding In, "Scholars and Twentieth Century 
Indians: Reassessing the Recent Past," in Colin G. Calloway, ed., 
New Directions in American Indian History (Norman: University of 
Oklahoma Press, 1988), pp. 5-29, 127-149. 

Collection in the AHC may contain some clues; the St. 
Stephens Mission files probably offer others, but the most 
insightful answers probably will come from collecting oral 
history among the people at Wind River, which requires 
patience and a sensitivity on the part of the researcher. 
When a Shoshone threw a hatchet at Ake Hultkrantz back 
in the 1950s to discourage him from attending a religious 
ceremony, he probably did so as a last resort, more subtle 
measures having failed to dissuade the persistent Swede. -*^ 
Probing other peoples' religious beliefs may well be "none 
of your business." Fred Voget has shown how the Sun 
Dance was reintroduced among the Crows from the 
Shoshones in the 1940s, but there is room for other studies 
of cultural suppressions, survivals, and revivals.-^ The 
history of education of and by Indians in the state, and 
of language decline and survival are equallv important 
issues up to the present day. 

Other aspects of twentieth century Indian history that 
deserve full-length studies include the Indian New Deal 
and the Depression. What was life like on the Wind River 

20. Vecsoy, od.. Belief and Worship in Native North Aiiiciua. p. \i 

21. Fred Voget, The Shoslione-Croir Sun Danec (Norman: Uni\or 
Oklahoma Press, 1984). 



FALL 1991 

in the 1930s and why did the tribes reject John Collier's 
IRA?22 Likewise, what were the experiences of Indian peo- 
ple in and from Wyoming during the crucial periods of ter- 
mination and relocation. The following quotation, from a 
letter from Governor Lester C. Hunt to Senator Joseph C. 
O'Mahoney (March 30, 1945) illustrates the kind of think- 
ing the Indians were up against in the years after World 
War II. The government, said Hunt, should stop being a 
"wet nurse" to the Indians. The Indian had "lost his 
glamour as a showman" and Hunt advocated terminating 
federal services and dividing up tribal lands so that the "In- 
dian as we know him today would soon lose his identity 
and would rapidly acquire the American way of living." 
The Indian reservations "are surrounded by the highest 
types of civilization, and how or why they have been 
retarded in their advancement as much as they have is a 
mystery to me."^^ How Wyoming Indians fared in such 
a climate merits close consideration. 

Today, questions of economic development and com- 
petition for water, mineral, and energy resources are high 
on the agenda throughout Indian country and on the Wind 
River in particular as tribes try to assert control of their 
resources or at least get what they consider a fair share of 
the revenue. The struggle over these resources is not 
new. 2^ The Wind River tribes spent the first half of the cen- 
tury (1908-1947) battling to get control of the money they 
got from their oil and to cancel unfavorable oil leases. And 
the struggle goes back into the previous century. In 1872 
gold miners who were operating illegally on the southern 
part of Wind River demanded the land be opened, prompt- 
ing Commissioner of Indian Affairs Francis A. Walker to 
announce: "It is the policy of the government to segregate 
such [mineral] lands from the Indian reservations as far 
as may be consistent with the faith of the United States." 
Walker justified such a policy as being in the Indians' best 
interests: the miners were going to invade the mineral-rich 
lands anyway so the best way to protect the Indians from 
being disturbed was to take these lands away from them!^^ 
Not until 1938 did the Supreme Court rule, against the 
assertions of the federal government, that minerals on the 
Wind River were "constituent elements of the land itself" 
and thus owned by the tribes. ^^ A study of the long strug- 
gle over the energy resources of Wyoming's Indian lands 
would be a valuable case study in these' days when the 
pressures on Indian resources intensify. 

These are just a few areas where historians can enrich 
Wyoming's history by adding a fuller picture of Native 
American life and experiences. To do the job effectively, 
however, demands a certain amount of reeducation and 

a commitment to interdisciplinary study. We await a full- 
length history of the Wind River Reservation and the 
peoples who made it. One could write an administrative 
history by using government records, but the author of the 
book we need must not only be at home in the National 
Archives. He or she must be adept in archaeology, 
grounded in anthropology, a skilled practitioner of en- 
thnohistory, and familiar with the Arapaho and Shoshone 
languages. If he or she is not a member of the Wind River 
communities, they must earn credibility on the reservation 
and conduct extensive interviews there. 

Few of us live long enough to amass such expertise 
and few institutions can provide the necessary multi- 
disciplinary training. But I think the University of Wyo- 
ming has the potential. Several colleges have departments 
or programs in Native American Studies. UW has neither. 
Dartmouth College where I taught last spring has one of 
the most prestigious Native American Studies programs 
in the country. The faculty consists of someone half-time 
from history, someone half-time from anthropology, some- 
one half-time from English. UW by contrast has people 
with expertise in Native American history, archaeology, 
anthropology, literature, language, and art, and depart- 
ments that are committed to maintaining those positions. 
The Coe Library is as good as most in Indian materials. 
Dartmouth may have advantages in finances, resources, 
and reputation, but it does not have the AHC, it does not 
have the Wind River Reservation within the state, and it 
does not have George Frison. I think that UW can, with 
a minimum of administrative chaos, offer students a 
rigorous program in Native American Studies. The Cow- 
boy State could then assume its proper place, center stage, 
in the national effort to teach and research a better Indian 
history than that which has limited Wyoming's view of its 
past for so long. 

22. Fowler discusses these questions briefly, but given the existence of 
WPA interviews in Cheyenne and the oral history of that period as 
yet untapped, the subject can hardly be exhausted. 

23. Quoted from the Joseph C. O'Mahoney papers at the American 
Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, in Marjane Ambler, Break- 
ing the Iron Bonds: Indian Control of Energy Development (Lawrence: 
University Press of Kansas, 1990), p. 8. 

24. On water rights see Michael A. Massie, "The Cultural Roots of In- 
dian Water Rights," Annals of Wyoming 59 (Spring 1987): 15-28; and 
Daniel McCool, Command of the Waters: Iron Triangles, Federal Water 
Development and Indian Water (Berkeley: University of California Press, 

25. Ambler, Breaking the Iron Bonds, p. 48. 

26. Ibid., p. 35. 



Wyoming Historiography and ttie 
19tti Century 

by John D. McDermott 

My interest in the fur trade generally centers on South- 
east Wyoming and my recommendation will specifically 
concern that area. Hiram Chittenden's two volume study, 
Histonj of the American Fur Trade of the Far West, was the 
first attempt to do a general history, to create a context for 
further research. In the 1940s came the exciting narrative 
histories of Bernard Devoto, Year of Decision and Across the 
Wide Missouri, focusing on the drama of the experience and 
forcefully stating the prejudices of their author. In the next 
generation came the revisionists, like David J. Wishart— 
The Fur Trade of the American West, 1807-1840— who saw the 
fur trade as almost wholly an exploitive process. These two 
strains— the romantic view and the revisionist view remain 
in juxtaposition, which should lead to some lively debates 
and prompt further research. On the one hand, we have 
such volumes as Winfred Blevins, Give Your Heart to the 
Hawks, and Bill Gilbert's The Life of Joseph Walker, Master 
of the Frontier, and, on the other, William Swagerty's re- 
cent contextual essay in the Smithsonian's North American 
Indian Handbook series. 

In recent decades, fur trade scholars have also wel- 
comed more specific studies, such as Fred Gowan's Rocki/ 
Mountain Rendezvous, 1825-1890, and John E. Sunder's The 
Fur Trade on the Upper Missouri, 1840-1865, the latter for the 
first time showing evidence of broad research in primary 
sources in the papers of the American Fur Company at the 
New York and Missouri Historical societies, the Chouteau 

Papers in St. Louis, and other manuscript repositories. In 
the mid-1960s the ten-volume series of fur trade biog- 
raphies, LeRoy Hafen, ed.. The Mountain Men and the Fur 
Trade of the Far West, provided a great deal of information 
on fur trade participants in Wyoming and, perhaps just 
as importantly, identified the location of many new sources 
for further research. In terms of historiography, perhaps 
the most significant volume published during this period 
was John E. Sunder's Bill Sublette, Mountain Man, which 
used hitherto untapped state and municipal records to 
trace the career of one of the most significant of Missouri's 
fur trade entrepreneurs. 

Surprisingly enough, one of the greatest needs in fur 
trade history in Wyoming is a study of Fort Laramie from 
1834 to 1849. The first study of the post. Fort Laramie and 
the Pageant of the West, by LeRoy Hafen and Marion Young, 
is a curious volume in that its authors did not use basic 
fur trade records to write the first part nor basic military 
records to write the second. The same may be said of the 
two histories that followed it, Remi Nadeau's Fort Laramie 
and the Sioux Iiuiians and David Lavender's Fort Laramie and 
the Changing Frontier. Hafen and Young relied mostly on 
diaries of the period and secondary studies of the region, 
while Nadeau and Lavendar basically regurgitated the 
work of their predecessors, with a few new facts thrown 
in here and there, utilizing their considerable writing skills 
to improve the package. The onlv extended treatment of 



FALL 1991 

Fort Laramie to use primarily primary sources is Paul 
Hedren's Fort Laramie and the Sioux War of 1876, published 
last year, and, of course, it is limited to a single year in 
the post's long history. 

Probably the greatest opportunity for historic site ar- 
chaeology in the state awaits the National Park Service at 
Fort Laramie National Historic Site. In 1988 a mag- 
netometer survey revealed a large rectangular pattern not 
too far from the bank of the Laramie River in the vicinity 
of the 1876 Iron Military Bridge. The survey showed 
ground disturbance to depth of ten feet. The site is the one 
named by John Hunton, the last post trader at Fort 
Laramie, as that of Fort William, the first Fort Laramie built 
of Cottonwood logs by William Sublette and Robert Camp- 
bell and immortalized by the brush of Alfred Jacob Miller. 
During the winter of 1867, Hunton roomed with Jim 
Bridger who was the co-owner of Fort William in 1835, so 
one can assume the source of his information. The site is 
a mile away from the military complex, so exploration and 
development will not compete with the existing inter- 
pretive program. However, the National Park Service has 
voiced skepticism concerning the location, and its Denver 
Regional Office has indicated that archaeological testing 
has a low priority in the immediate future. It is very dif- 
ficult to understand the NPS' position in view of the 

significance of Fort William in the history of Wyoming and 
the need for the state to increase its tourism in a time of 
economic difficulties. 

While attention has been focused on Fort Laramie, 
there were many other trading establishments in the area, 
including Fort Bernard, the location of which remains in 
doubt. Much needs to be done to document these com- 
mercial outposts, which cover the fur trading and emigra- 
tion periods. George Zeimen's work on the Bordeaux 
Trading Post shows what can be learned from archaeologi- 
cal investigation. 

Another undisturbed fur trading post site that prom- 
ises to yield considerable information is the so-called Portu- 
guese Houses site in north'central Wyoming, about eleven 
miles east of Kaycee. Established in the 1830s by Antonio 
Mateo, the privately owned site is clearly seen from the 
air, covering an area of about 85 by 110 feet. 

The Sublette brothers, the Richard brothers, the Janis 
brothers, James Bordeaux, Joseph Bissonette, Joseph 
Knight, Sefrey lot, and Big Bat Fourier all came from St. 
Charles, Missouri. All of these men played important roles 
in the early history of southeast Wyoming, forming in- 
dividually and occasionally collectively, the main opposi- 
tion to the American Fur Company in the region. We need 
to know more about their activities and interrelationships, 


utilizing the rich early business and legal records of St. 
Charles, which are available in French. It is more than fifty 
years since the biographies of jim Bridger and Thomas Fitz- 
patrick, and new studies are needed. 

The greatest need in fur trade research, in my opinion, 
is a general history of this activity in the state: one that 
would link east and west; locate important sites, including 
trappers' smaller establishments; and identify the players, 
utilizing the many manuscript and business papers in 
Missouri repositories, government documents, and the 
files of the newspapers of Missouri border towns, which 
reported in great detail the comings and goings of traders 
and trappers through interviews and reprinting of letters 
received by townsfolk from those engaged in trading ac- 
tivities in the West. Add to this a gleaning and consolida- 
tion of the great wealth of information assembled in 
biographies prepared for Hafen's many-volumed The 
Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West, and a com- 
prehensive study would be possible. 

In looking at military history in the nineteenth century, 
it IS possible to find even a greater disparity between what 
has been published and what are the needs. Some recent 
general works have been helpful. Robert M. Utley's two 
volumes. Frontiersmen in Blue: The United States Army and 
the Indian, 1848-1865, and Frontier Regulars: The United States 
Army and the Indian, 1866-1890, provide a context and basic 
facts concerning military strategy and campaigns on the 
Northern Plains. Robert Athearn's William Tecumseh Sher- 
man and the Settlement of the West and Paul Hutton's Phil 
Sheridan and His Army explicate high-level army policy as 
it is related to the Rocky Mountain region. The new volume 
by Robert Wooster, The Military and United States Indian 
Policy, 1865-1903, discusses western strategies and explains 
their failure. 

While much has been written on individual military- 
Indian conflicts in Wyoming, little has been based on a 
thorough examination of the documents. Dee Brown, for 
example, did not use official army correspondence in 
preparing his history of Fort Phil Kearny: An American Saga, 
reprinted as The Fetterman Massacre, but depended on the 
two reminiscences by the Carrington women for most of 
his information— Ateflro/cfl, Home of the Crows by Margaret, 
and My Army Life and the Fort PhU Keariiy Massacre by 
Frances. Brown's book ends on January 23, 1867, when 
Colonel Henry Carrington leaves Fort Phil Kearny in 
disgrace and does not treat the remaining year-and-a-half 
of the post's history before abandonment. 

It is also true that too much of what has been written 
in modern times rearranges earlier unsubstantiated work. 

An example is the treatment of the Platte Bridge Fight of 
July 25, 1865, by J. W. Vaughn. His account. The Battle of 
Platte Bridge, relies heavily on Alfred J. Mokler's Fort Caspar 
and Histonj of Natrona County Wyoming, 1881-1922. Since 
Mokler did not footnote his work, we have no way of 
evaluating his sources. ^ While Vaughn did make use of 
several newly discovered eyewitness accounts and evi- 
dence gathered with a metal detector, he still used Mokler 
as his major authority. That Vaughn missed a great deal 
in his documentary search is evidenced by the voluminous 
material unearthed by John Maxon of Arleta, California, 
which he recently donated to the Fort Caspar Museum, 
where scholars might make use of it to write a much bet- 
ter account of the fight and the fort. 

One of those who has pioneered in the use of the 
primary sources in writing Wyoming military history is 
Robert A. Murray. In his Military Posts on the Powder River, 
1865-1894, he not only utilized the military groupings 
known as post records, quartermaster records, district and 
departmental records, and records of the advocate gen- 
eral's office, but he approached the subject from a military 
frame of reference, dealing with the material topically in 
terms of supply, armament, logistics, and tactics. In a 
booklet titled Military Posts of Wyoming, Murray was the 
first to attempt a sketch of total military activity in 

What are some of the present needs? We lack a solid 
military history of Fort Laramie. We need a study of 
military posts along the Union Pacific similar to Robert 
Athearn's Militan/ Posts on the Upper Missouri. In terms of 
biography, we do not yet have a volume devoted to George 
Crook or a scholarly treatment of Nelson A. Miles, the two 
most proficient Indian fighters on the Northern Plains. 
Others needing biographies are C. C. Ord, Henry Car- 
rington, and Ranald MacKenzie. We do not have a history 
of the Department of the Platte or any of its subdivisions, 
which guided military policy and logistics in Wyoming. 
Conspicuously absent is scholarly treatment of the events 
of 1865 including the Connor campaign. Finally, we need 
a full treatment of military activities within state bound- 
aries, which includes thorough site identification. 

In the field of military, social, and intellectual history, 
some progress has been made. Three especially useful 
volumes are Edward M. Coffman, The Old Army: A Por- 
trait of the American Army in Peacetime, U84-1S9S, Sherry 

1. Mokler's reso<iivli notrs sunnc in Ihv li. 
d>n' tills rwiluation in>n' bo possible. 



FALL 1991 

General plan of Fort Laramie, 1874. 

Smith, The Vieiv from Officers' Row: Army Perceptions of 
Western Indians, and Don Rickey, Jr., Forty Miles a Day on 
Beans and Hay. Solidly based on extensive research in 
manuscript and printed materials, they do much to 
elucidate the every day lives and opinions of those who 
served in the frontier army. 

There are some sources, however, that have not yet 
been thoroughly mined, especially with regard to the 
enlisted man. Most important are six serial publications: 
the Army Navy Journal, the Anny Navy Register, the National 
Tribune, the Journal of the Military Service Institute, United 
Service magazine, and Winners of the West. The most used 
of the group are the Army Navy Journal and Winners of the 
West, the former being a New York-based newspaper 
begun in 1862 and running into the twentieth century and 
the latter a monthly flourishing in the 1920s and 1930s and 
devoted solely to the Indian Wars. Virtually unused is the 
Army Navy Register, a Washington D.C. -based newspaper 

which first appeared in 1878, running like its competitor, 
the Army Navy Journal, well into the twentieth century. 
Both the journals depend on letters from men in service 
to fill most of their pages. While both have a general in- 
dex, one must sift through page-by-page to get at the meat 
of them. There you will find letters written by deserters 
about why they deserted, complaints about living condi- 
tions by army wives, suggestions on how to fight Indians, 
and so on, a marvel of information and opinion. The two 
professional magazines of the period are the Journal of the 
Militari/ Service Institute and United Service, both begun in 
the late 1870s and continuing into the 1900s. Scholars oc- 
casionally cite articles from these publications, but only 
sporadically, obviously depending upon inadequate in- 
dexes to locate the appropriate material. 

The last of the indispensable serials is the Natiojial 
Tribune, a newspaper begun as the official organ of the 
Grand Old Army of the Republic. In the 1890s, as Civil 



War veterans began to disappear from the scene, Indian 
Wars veterans began to publish their diaries and 
reminiscences, some filling a column or two and some 
numbering a hundred pages. This newspaper is not 
indexed. I have copied about 150 accounts from the National 
Tribune, the majority of them coming from enlisted men 
and many of them dealing with happenings in Wyoming. 

The greatest opportunities for research in military 
history lie in elucidating the Indian side of the story. It is 
especially important to identify the military geography of 
the Sioux, Crow, Northern Arapahoe, Shoshone, and 
Northern Cheyenne, just as we have identified those sites 
occupied or utilized by the United States Army. As a 
corollary, we need to identify Indian positions at various 
battlefields and begin to develop self-guiding trails that 
reflect the view looking in at military posts rather than 
always representing the view looking out. Foremost, we 
need to develop a detailed history of Indian locations, 
movements, groupings, strategy, and tactics, utilizing 
newspaper sources, which contain much information in 
the form of letters from travelers to and from Indian camps, 
sources overlooked, for example, by George Hyde in his 
histories of the Sioux, Red Cloud's Folk: A History of the 
Oglala Sioux Indians and Spotted Tail: A Histonj of the Brule 

Another gap in White-Indian relations concerns his- 
tories of Indian agents. A series for them akin to Hafen's 
biographical series on mountain men would be greatly 

In summary, while much has been written about the 

fur trade and a great deal written about military history, 
especially the Indian wars, much of it is based on secon- 
dary sources and inadequate research. Perhaps just as im- 
portant is the fact that it has been written by non-his- 
torians, who while often bringing new perspectives and 
new talents to the job, do not approach the subject in the 
manner of those trained in the discipline. Perhaps the best 
example of this is the much-lauded study of the westward 
migration across Wyoming by John D. Unruh, Jr., titled 
The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants and the Trans- 
Mississippi West, 1840-60. While hundreds of books had 
been written on the Oregon/California/Mormon Trail pre- 
viously, Unruh was the first to apply the trained historian's 
approach to the subject, namely, research in the official 
documents of the period, the contemporary newspapers, 
and other primary sources, and the book now stands alone 
as the best in the field. 

The principal question, then, becomes whether the 
writing of nineteenth century Wyoming history will remain 
largely in the hands of writers like Stanley Vestal and John 
Francis McDermott, who were English professors; Alfred 
J. Mokler, Bernard DeVoto, and Bill Gilbert, who were 
newspapermen; Remi Nadeau, who was a public relations 
director for United Airlines; Carl P. Russel, who was a 
naturalist; Mari Sandoz, Helena Huntington Smith, and 
Dorothy Johnson, fine writers, but not trained in history; 
Jack Gage, who was a politician; J. W. Vaughn, who was 
a lawyer; Mark Brown, who was a rancher and former 
military intelligence officer; Dee Brown, who was a 
librarian; and E. A. Brininstool, who was a columnist. 



by Carl V. Hallberg 

Since the 1970s, western historians have recognized 
ethnicity as an integral part in the settlement of the trans- 
Mississippi West. Although much work has been accom- 
plished, any attempt at understanding ethnicity overall on 
the Great Plains of the Rocky Mountain West is still 
presumptuous, because of the various methodologies em- 
ployed and, for many areas, the lack of basic research.^ In 
Wyoming, the latter is a valid critique. With the possible 
exception of some recent projects, historians have not given 
careful consideration to Asians, Blacks, Europeans, and 
Hispanics in the development of the state. 

The delay in ethnic research is no fault of the historical 
record. The arrival of immigrants and non-Whites did not 
go unnoticed, because race, dress, or speech singled them 
out as being culturally different to anglicized residents. In 
turn, public comments were transplanted into the political 
arena where officials voiced their support or criticism as 
circumstances dictated. All these observations reflected the 
changing composition of society and how commentators 
saw their state. But race or nationality did not have to trig- 
ger emotional reactions. To fill space newspapers printed 
brief notices about emigrant trains, organizations, or ac- 
tivities by anonymous individuals with references only to 
race or nationality. A person's race and nationality was 
sometimes required as part of a public record. 

1. Frederick C. Luebke, "Ethnic Minority Groups in the American 
West," in Michael P. Malone, ed.. Historians and the American West 
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983), pp. 388-413; Frederick 
C. Luebke, Germans in the New World: Essays in the History of Immigra- 
tion (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), pp. 138-156; Kathleen 
Neils Conzen, "Historical Approaches to the Study of Rural Ethnic 
Communities," in Frederick C. Luebke, ed., Ethnicity on the Great 
Plains (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980), pp. 1-18; and 
Carlton Q. Qualey, "Ethnic Groups and the Frontier," in Roger L. 
Nichols, ed., American Frontier and Western Issues (Westport: Green- 
wood Press, 1986), pp. 199-216. 

Physical geography did not isolate immigrants from 
ethnic centers. Roads, postal lines, and railroads served 
as a kind of cultural lifeline. Communication with friends, 
family, and institutions fostered a personal sense of cultural 
identity. National, religious, and educational leaders used 
similar information lines to make contacts and to bring 
residents within the fold of the ethnic community at large. 
The effectiveness of these networks in Wyoming would 
be determined by who used them and the frequency of use. 

What was the composition of Wyoming's ethnic pop- 
ulation? The answer is not a simple one. Europeans, Blacks, 
Asians, and Hispanics comprised 40.5 percent of the total 
population in 1870, 29.6 percent in 1880, 26.1 percent in 
1890, 21.6 percent in 1900, and 22.5 percent in 1910. ^ But 
census figures are only numerical abstracts. Within each 
group there is a diversity, since no one group is composed 
of uniform individuals. Differences abound due to occupa- 
tion, class, education, religion, settlement patterns, 
residency, and age. Wyoming's cultural environment— eco- 
nomics, social infrastructures, and population density- 
would also have different effects upon each individual. 

After considering these factors, there emerges a far 
from simple account of economic success and cultural 
assimilation. The ability of residents, collectively and in- 
dividually, to cope with circumstances around them deter- 
mined how and to what extent ethnicity would manifest 
itself, local perceptions and attitudes of race and ethnicity, 
and how well immigrants adjusted to cultural life in Wyo- 

2. Compendium of the Tenth Census (June h 1880), Part I (Washington, 
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1886), pp. 60, 332-333; Compen- 
dium of the Elei'enth Census: 1890: Part l~Population (Washington, D.C.: 
Government Printing Office, 1892), pp. 47, 469; and Thirteenth Cen- 
sus of the United States Taken in the Year 1910: Vol. Ill: Population 
(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1913), p. 1115. 



ming. For example, a Swedish farm in Crook County and 
a Swedish railroad worker in Rawlins may share a com- 
mon nationality, but they also might contrast in their 
perceptions of their adopted society, their ability to interact 
in the social and economic circles, their participation and 
acceptance in local matters, and their personal participa- 
tion in their cultural heritage. But the individual account 
is just one perspective. In agriculture, Huntley (Jewish), 
Germania (Germans), and Lindbergh (Swedish) are rural 
settlements in title alone. A closer examination will reveal 
comparative differences, but in what way? Were these due 
to the character of the land, the ability of the farmers 
themselves, economics, or a combination of the above? 
Dudley Gardner and Verla Flores report that coal com- 
panies, particularly the Union Pacific, hired various ethnic 
groups to work mines, to prevent the organization of 
unions and to populate remote regions. ^ Did this inten- 
tional intermingling of people fulfill the corporation's labor 
objectives? Was the melting pot in effect? Was ethnic life 
in the coal towns different from other towns? 

In summary, ethnicity has played a role in the settle- 
ment of Wyoming. Some generalizations can be made from 
this statement. Where there was a large ethnic community 
and community hegemony was strong, there arose sup- 
port institutions— churches, fraternal orders, and 
businesses. In other places the paucity of population 
resulted in greater ethnocultural interaction and quicker 
assimilation. The difficult task for historians is not merely 
to identify, but to understand how ethnicity and Wyo- 
ming's cultural landscape affected each other. 

National historians have been slow to rediscover or at 
least acknowledge an ethnic presence in Wyoming. Pre- 
vious conceptions of what constituted western history and 
what constituted ethnic history have made a union of ideas 
almost prohibitive. Marcus Lee Hansen, the dean of im- 
migration history in the 1920s and 1930s, led the way. 
Although he was a staunch advocate of thorough research, 
he based his book. The Immigrant and American History, 
upon mid western and eastern studies. Some of his gen- 
eralizations cannot be proven because of the lack of 
documentation. Other statements are wrong. For exam- 
ple, Hansen wrote that at the time of the adoption of 
women's suffrage, Wyoming's population was nearly 100 

percent native-born; in actuality foreign-born residents 
comprised more than 29 percent of the total population.'* 
When Hansen's book was posthumously published in 
1940, the Rock Springs Massacre was already recognized 
nationally as a prime illustration of radical nativism.^ Acts 
of western nativism always break the mold of an Anglo- 
Saxon West. 

A balanced national portrait of ethnicity still remains 
far removed. To their credit, immigration historians have 
admitted that their attempts to document the national pic- 
ture were hardly definitive, partly because of the lack of 
scholarship from which to draw upon and partly because 
of the immensity of the task before them. At the same time 
philosophical orientations, from Carl Wittke's We Who Built 
America (1939) to John Bodnar's The Transpilanted (1986), 
would but preclude any serious consideration of ethnicity 
in the plains or mountain west states.*" 

The failure of national historians is reflective, to some 
extent, upon the activities of historians at the state level. 
Considering the breadth of historical research done to date, 
ethnicity in Wyoming represents a comparatively small 
portion. The main reason is again one of perceiving what 
constitutes ethnicity based on eastern studies instead of 
understanding ethnicity within the context of Wyoming. 
Thus, for some, ethnicity as a theme is sometimes seen as 
a t]uixotic novelty incompatible with traditional themes and 
popular images of Wyoming's past. For others, melting pot 
analogies hint at an heterogeneous population, but stop 
short of exploring the meaning and relevance of the 
melting pot concept in Wyoming. 

A thorough historiographical analysis of ethnicity in 
Wyoming history is beyond the scope of this paper. How- 
ever, one general observation is that popular themes have 

3. A. Dudley Gardner and Verla R. Flores, Forgotteti Frontier: A Histori/ 
of W\/oming Coal Mining (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1989), 
pp. 83, 112-114. 

4. Marcus Lee Hansen, Tlic Immigrant in American Histonj, ed. by Arthur 
M. Schlesinger (New York: Harper & Row, 1940), p. 92; Luebke, Ger- 
mans, p. 143; Peter Kvisto, "Ethnicity and the Problem of Genera- 
tions in American History," in Peter Kvisto and Dag Blanck, eds., 
American Generations and Their bnmigrants: Studies and Conuiwntaries 
on the Hansen Thesis after Fifty Years (Urbana: University of Illinois 
Press, 1990), p. 2; and 1869 census. Secretary of State Records, Wyo- 
ming State Archives, Division of Parks and Cultural Resources, 
Department of Commerce. Tlie exact percentage of foreign-born 
residents cannot be determined due to missing pages and blank 

5. Paul Crane and Alfred Larson, "The Chinese Massacre," A}iiiah of 
Wi/onnng 12 (January 1940):47-53; 12 (April 1940): 153-U-.1: and Carl 
VVittke, VVc Who Biidt America: The Saga of the Immigrani (Cle\eland: 
The Press of Western Reserve University, 1939), p. 4b2. 

6. Luebke, Germans, pp. 138-156. 



FALL 1991 

prevailed. The historiography of Wyoming along with Col- 
orado and Montana has been described as being dominated 
by the spectacular and sensational.^ This statement should 
not be interpreted as demeaning the credibility of frontier 
studies. But at the same time many authors, particularly 
those for early Annals articles and Wyoming history books, 
failed to explore ethnicity as an element within a theme 
or considered respective individuals or groups as colorful 
illustrations or sidelight within a story. Ethnicity was a 
passive rather than active element. This trend continues. 
Most ethnic displays in the capitol for the capitol centen- 
nial in 1988 and the state centennial in 1990 offered a quick 
overview through artifacts, photographs, and biographies 
of notable people. Modern county histories focus on the 
pioneer experience, but ignore how a person's cultural 
background affected his or her social life. On the other 
hand, in order to make ethnicity visible, some authors pro- 
mote rather than interpret. They seek a dual purpose of 
pride and continuity with the past, a style of writing that 

7. Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains (Boston: Ginn and Company, 
1931), p. 454; and Eugene H. Berwanger, "The Absurd and the Spec- 
tacular: The Historiography of the Plains-Mountain States— Colorado, 
Montana, Wyoming," Pacific Historical Review L (November 1981): 


has been called empowering, filiopietistic, and transparent. « 
Wyoming historians need to balance the pendulum from 
swinging too far one way or the other. 

The first scholarly study of ethnicity in Wyoming ap- 
peared in 1977 under the title of Peopling the High Plains: 
Wyoming's European Heritage.'^ The book represents a major 
development in Wyoming historiography and gave Wyo- 
ming a place in immigration history. Its essays vary in style, 
methodology, and perspective, but the book provided a 
starting point for further work. More importantly, the set- 
tlement of Wyoming is now viewed as part of the con- 
tinuum of ethnicity on the Great Plains and Rocky Moun- 
tain West. 

But the momentum behind Peopling the High Plains was 
shortlived, and ethnicity quickly diminished as a serious 
topic of study. Peopling the High Plains is not the end all. 

Luebke, Germans, pp. 138-139; Walter O. Forster, "The Immigrant 
and the American National Idea," in O. Fritiof Ander, ed.. In Trek 
of the Immigrants: Essays Presented to Carl Wittke (Rock Island: 
Augustana College Library, 1964), pp. 157-158; and David Thelen, 
Historif-Making in America: A Populist Perspective (David Thelen, 1991), 
p. 6.' 

Gordon Olaf Hendrickson, ed.. Peopling the High Plains: Wyoming's 
European Heritage (Cheyenne: Wyoming State Archives and Historical 
Department, 1977). 

Carl Carlson, son of 
Swedish immigrants 
who settled in Rock 
Spmngs. Photograph 
was taken in 1915. 



even on its own topics, for ethnic history in Wyoming has 
a long way to go. Surveys on Jews, rural Blacks, Hispanics 
in World War II, and nativism have been done and still 
offer areas of research while other groups such as Swedes, 
Finns, Japanese (not just Heart Mountain), and Chinese 
(not just the Chinese Massacre) remain to be docu- 
rrtented.^" Eastern case studies require western counter- 
parts. Western literary and film genre deserve scrutiny in 
their portrayals of ethnic groups. The ethnic perspective 
need not stand alone but should be regarded as part of 
social, economic, and labor history. The avenues of ethnic 
research advocated by Hansen in the 1930s still offer 
possibilities for investigation in Wyoming. ^^ 

Speaking before the 1937 National Conference on 
Social Work in Indianapolis, Marcus Lee Hansen stated 
that the opportunity for discovering the ethnic past was 
readily available and should be written. "To accommodate 
that task, while memory is fresh and documents still 
preserved, is the most challenging duty now facing 
American historians. "^^ Even today, Hansen's point— to 
document the ethnic heritage of a place— remains valid. 

It is also a challenge. Memories have faded, communities 
have evaporated, and some documents have disappeared. 
Nonetheless, the task is a necessary one. Wyoming 
historians have their work cut out for them. 

10. Carl V. Hallberg, "Jews in Wyoming," Annals of Wyoming 61 (Spring 
1989): 10-31; Todd R. Guenther, "At Home on the Range: Black Set- 
tlements in Rural Wyoming," (Master's Thesis, University of Wyo- 
ming, 1988); Todd R. Guenther, " 'Y'all Call Me Nigger Jim Now, 
But Someday You'll Call Me Mr. James Edwards': Black Success on 
the Plains of the Equality State," Annals of Wyoming 61 (Fall 1989): 
20-40; William L. Hewitt, "Mexican Workers in Wyoming During 
World War II: Necessity, Discrimination and Protest," Annals of Wyo- 
ming 54 (Spring 1982): 20-33; and Lawrence A. Cardoso, "Nativism 
in Wyoming 1868-1930: Changing Perceptions of Foreign Im- 
migrants," Annals of Wyoming 58 (Fall 1986): 20-38. For a comparative 
study, see Barbara Jo Guilford, "Ethnic Comparison of Agricultural 
Units in Goshen and Washakie Counties of Wyoming," (Master's 
Thesis, University of Wyoming, 1974). 

11. Hansen, The Immigrant in American History, pp. 191-217. 

12. Marcus Lee Hansen, "Who Shall Inherit America?" in Peter Kvisto 
and Dag Blanck, eds., American Immigrants and Their Generations: 
Studies and Commentaries on the Hansen Thesis after Fifty Years (Urbana: 
University of Illinois Press, 1990), p. 204. 


by A. Dudley Gardner 

The central focus of articles and books written about 
Chinese history in Wyoming has been the Chinese Massa- 
cre that took place on September 2, 1885. As a result of 
this tragedy, twenty-eight Chinese died in Rock Springs, 
and most of the north side of town was burned to the 
ground. This tragedy was preceded by seventeen years of 
Chinese emigration into Wyoming Territory. However, it 
has been the Chinese Massacre, not the emigration, that 
has most often been discussed and written about by 
historians.^ Asians rarely receive recognition as important 
players in the development of Wyoming. 

The fact that Asian history in Wyoming receives little 
attention is not due to a conscious policy by historians to 
avoid ethnic groups from the Pacific Rim, but is more the 
result of not being able to find readilv primary source 
material about Chinese emigrants in Wyoming. Currently, 
the amount of available primary materials is increasing and 
a broad view of the Chinese role in Wyoming is beginning 
to merge. It is now possible to discuss briefly the Chinese 
contribution to Wyoming during the territorial period. Here 
we will briefly review the role the Chinese played in Wyo- 
ming prior to 1885. 



FALL 1991 

In the years between 1868 and 1885, the Chinese con- 
tributed much to the development of southern Wyoming. 
They were also the victims of racial prejudice. While con- 
tributing to the growth of the territory, the Chinese were 
viewed as a problem. Prejudice was a fact rarely hidden 
or apologized for in the territorial newspapers. 

The first newspaper to print "anti-Chinese" articles 
was the Frontier Index. In 1868, Legh Freeman, the editor 
of the Frontier Index, called his newspaper an anti-Black, 
anti-Indian, and anti-Chinese newspaper. Freeman headed 
his editorial column with the words, "The Motto of this 
Column: Only White Men to be naturalized in the United 
States. The RACES and SEXES in their respective spheres 
as God Almighty created them."^ The Cheyenne news- 
papers were no kinder to emigrants. By the late 1870s, 
when anti-Chinese sentiment was at a fevered pitch 
throughout the West, the Cheyenne Daily Leader led off one 
of their stories by saying "... We are being ruined by 
Chinese thieving. "^ Throughout the West, there was 
widespread prejudice aimed at Chinese emigrants. For ex- 
ample, in 1866, the Montana Radiator reported that the 
"Mongolian hordes" were preventing "Helena women 
from making a living washing clothes."'* People in Wyo- 
ming Territory viewed the Chinese much like other "West- 
erners" and perceived them as a threat to their jobs and 
economic well being. 

In Wyoming the first Chinese emigrated to become 
railroad workers. The 1870 United States census records 
show that in southwest Wyoming, specifically Uinta and 
Sweetwater counties, all the Chinese listed were employed 

1. Examples of works which have discussed the Chinese Massacre in 
some detail include: T. A. Larson, Histon/ of Wyoming, 2nd ed., rev. 
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978); Dell Isham, Rock Spmngs 
Massacre 1885 (Master's Thesis, University of Wyoming, 1967); Issac 
Hill Bromley, The Chinese Massacre at Rock Springs Wyoming Territory 
(Boston: Franklin Press, Rand, Avery and Company, 1886); Robert 
Rhode, Booms and Busts on Bitter Creek (Boulder, Colorado: Pruett 
Press, 1987). In addition to these books and the thesis, several 
pamphlets and articles have been published dealing specifically with 
the Chinese Massacre. Among the articles published are two pieces 
by Paul Crane and T. A. Larson, "The Chinese Massacre," Annals of 
Wyoming 12 (January 1940): 47-55; and 2 (April 1940): 153-161. A 
pamphlet has also been written by Henry F. Chadey, The Chinese Story 
and Rock Springs, Wyoming (Green River, Wyoming: Sweetwater 
County Historical Museum, n.d.). 

2. Frontier Index [Green River City, Wyoming], August 11, 1868. The 
capitalization of the words are as they appear in the original column. 

3. Cheyenne Daily Leader, May 6, 1879. 

4. Montana Radiator [Helena, Montana], January 24, 1866; John R. 
Wunder, "Law and Chinese in Frontier Montana," Montana the 
Magazine of Western History 30 (Summer 1980): 18-31. 

as laborers at either railroad stations or section camps. At 
the time, both Uinta and Sweetwater counties ran from 
the Utah and Colorado borders to the Montana border. 
Within these two counties, there were ninety-six Chinese 
"laborers." No other occupation is listed nor were there 
any Chinese females living in these two counties.^ As 
laborers in railroad camps, the Chinese all worked for the 
Union Pacific Railroad. 

The Union Pacific Railroad initially recruited Chinese 
laborers to work on their mainline. After 1874, when labor 
unrest developed in their coal mines. Union Pacific Rail- 
road also began hiring Chinese workers to extract coal at 
their various mines throughout southern Wyoming. Em- 
ploying Chinese miners or railroad workers was a matter 
of both convenience and economics. In 1870, Union 
Pacific's auditor, J. W. Gannet, wrote to Oliver Ames, the 
president of Union Pacific, that "The difference between 
Irish and Chinese as to expense appears small. Utah hav- 
ing as many Chinese on a 5 mile section as Platte [divi- 
sion] has of Irish on a 6 mile section. This, however, may 
be unnecessary as I am told that an irishman performs no 
more labor than a Chinese. . . ."^ Grenville M. Dodge, 
after the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 
1869, planned to discharge the "Irishmen" and replace 
them with Chinese workers, "a move he thought would 
cut labor costs in half."^ 

Employing Chinese railroad workers was a profitable 
venture for Union Pacific. At remote section camps, such 
as Red Desert in Sweetwater County, the majority of the 
residents were Chinese. In 1870 there were twenty in- 
habitants at Red Desert. Of this number, twelve were 
Chinese. Of course, the Chinese at Red Desert were all 
laborers. The section foreman at the camp was an Ameri- 
can.^ Red Desert's counterpart, located to the east, was 
called Washakie. At Washakie there were twenty-three 
residents. The section foreman was an American and the 
crew foreman was Irish, but the thirteen laborers were all 

5. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 (Washington, D.C.: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1872). 

6. J. W. Gannett to Oliver Ames, August 27, 1870, UPRR Collection, 
Office of the President, MS 3761, SG2, Box 6, Nebraska State Museum 
and Archives, Lincoln. 

7. Maury Klein, Union Pacific: The Birth of a Railroad, 1862-1893 (Garden 
City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1987). p. 238. 

8. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. 

9. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. 



In the various section camps along the Union Pacific 
mainline in southwest Wyoming, Chinese workers out- 
numbered all other nationalities. In 1870 Sweetwater 
County had seventy-nine Chinese residents. This figure 
represents roughly 4 percent of the county's entire popula- 
tion. However, this population was concentrated into 
isolated areas with no Chinese residents reported at Green 
River or Rock Springs, the largest towns along the Union 
Pacific mainline in Sweetwater County.^" 

Throughout the decade of the 1870s the number of 
Chinese living in southwestern Wyoming steadily in- 
creased. What is more important is that while the popula- 
tion increased, so did the diversity. At Rock Springs, where 
most of the Chinese residents of Sweetwater County lived 
in 1880, there were Chinese miners, laborers, and cooks, 
along with a barber, gambler, and a priest. The fact that 
Rock Springs had a resident priest is of some interest, as 
he is seemingly the only one in the territory and possibly 
served a wider community." The person employed as a 
professional gambler probably helped provide recreation 
for more than just the Chinese residents of Rock Springs. 

Throughout Sweetwater County in 1880, the majority 
of the Chinese residents either worked on the railroad or 
in the coal mines, but some were also involved in a variety 
of occupations. At Green River, there was a Chinese doc- 
tor. At Miners Delight, Atlantic City, and Red Canyon, 
Chinese gold miners were employed. At Fort Washakie 
and Green River there were Chinese servants and waiters. 
A number of places had Chinese wash houses. A few com- 
munities also had Chinese cooks. However, throughout 
Sweetwater County there were only thirteen cooks and 
two wash house attendants employed. The majority of the 
193 Chinese residents living in Sweetwater County in 1880 
were either working in the mines or for the railroad. i- 

Both Rock Springs and Green River had Chinese 
women living in their towns in 1880. Although small in 
number, all of the female residents were employed out- 
side the home. In Green River two women worked as ser- 
vants, whereas the only woman in Rock Springs was a 
cook. 13 While the female population was a relatively small 
proportion of the total Chinese population, it is significant 
because folklore surrounding the Chinese Massacre often 

10. Ninth Census of the United States, 1870. 

11. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 (Washington, D.C.: Govern- 
ment Printing Office, 1883). 

12. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. 

13. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. 

Lock Long Choong, 

known as Mormon 

Charlie, sold vegetables 

in Evanston, 




FALL 1991 

puts forth the idea that there were no Chinese women Hv- 
ing in Rock Springs in the years prior to 1885. Overall, 
there were only three Chinese females in Sweetwater 
County and the Chinese emigrants only represent 7.5 per- 
cent of the county's entire population. Yet what is worth 
noting is the fact that this small percentage of the popula- 
tion was concentrated in areas where their numbers were 
extremely visible. In Rock Springs, for example, the 
Chinese represented 16 percent of the town's population. 
At railroad camps, such as Washakie Station, they rep- 
resented 58 percent of the 1880 population." 

As the number of Chinese living in Wyoming began 
to increase, the states' newspapers devoted more and more 
time discussing whether Asians should be allowed into the 
United States. The newspapers also published articles 
describing the day to day activities of Chinese in Wyoming. 
While most newspapers published the recurring theme 
"the Chinese must GO," they provided information about 
the Chinese living in Wyoming. (In the newspapers of the 
nineteenth century, emphasis was always given on the 
verb go, and it was often capitalized in the newspaper 

In 1882 "a newly appointed attache to the Chinese em- 
bassy at Washington [D.C.]" visited Wyoming. Chang 
Tsung Liang took the opportunity to criticize the press for 
not portraying the Chinese in a favorable light. He accused 
the newspapers of creating the nationwide anti-Chinese 
sentiment that existed at the time. Chang also reported 
about conditions he had encountered in Wyoming. The 
attache, according to the Cheyenne Daily Leader, 

[EJxpressed his pleasure at the prosperous appearance of 
Cheyenne as compared with other towns he had passed along 
the route, inquired after his countrymen here and if they were 
"comfortable" and mentioned, evidently with hurt feelings, 
the very rude manner in which some loafers had behaved at 

14. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. The point about Chinese women 
living in the United States is somewhat complex. Stacy A. Flaherty, 
in his article "Boycott in Butte: Organized Labor and the Chinese 
Community, 1896-1897," Montana the Magazine of Western History 37 
(Winter 1987): 41, gives the following insight. "Most Chinese men 
left their wives and families in China while they sojourned in the 
United States. They sent money to their families or saved money to 
buy passage for their wives. Traditionally, a respectable Chinese 
woman did not leave home even with her husband. . . . The U.S. 
Government excluded wives from coming with immigrant Chinese 
laborers, but wives of merchants were allowed to enter the country." 
For more on Chinese families see Stanford M. Lyman, "Marriage and 
Family Among Chinese Immigrants to America, 1850-1906," in The 
Asians in the West (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1970), pp 27-31. 

Rock Springs as he passed through there, in calling him "bad 
names" "not like gentlemen and very rude."'' 

In another article, the Leader interviewed a Chinese 
merchant, who was passing through Cheyenne on busi- 
ness. The merchant, named Ah Lun, was a prosperous 
businessman. Often even the positive articles about 
Chinese emigrants were written somewhat "tongue in 
cheek," but these articles at least provided a different view- 
point. For example, the Chinese merchant Ah Lun, was 
described as follows: 

This celestial gentleman speaks good English and is quite 
social, freely imparting the course of his journey in a business, 
offhand way, and taking part in general conversation. He was 
attired in the conventional Chinese garments, but of very fine 
material, largely black silk and satin. Someone wondered 
(audibly) how he could keep his white stockings so clean, and 
a German friend suggested that he "put on a clean pair efry 
day aind dat so?" And Ah smiled assent.'* 

Chinese merchants and attaches, while both holding 
respected positions, were not shown the respect extended 
to Americans or Europeans who held the same positions. 
Throughout the West the Chinese were viewed as sec- 
ond class citizens. Companies in Wyoming Territory, like 
those in neighboring territories, often viewed the Chinese 
as if they were property or chattel, rather than employees. 
A contract dated December 24, 1875, between "Beckwith, 
Quinn, & Co. and Union Pacific Railroad Co.," illustrates 
the fact that Beckwith and Quinn, not the Chinese miner 
or railroad worker, decided the conditions under which 
they were to be employed. The contract for "Chinese labor 
and etc. Sale of Supplies, Rent of Warehouse Rock S." 
reads as follows: 

Agreement made and entered into, this 24th day of December 
A.D. 1875, between Beckwith, Quinn & Co., of Evanston Wyo- 
ming Territory of the first part, and the Union Pacific Railroad 
Co., of the second part, — Witnesseth:— 

The parties of the first part, hereby agree to furnish to the 
party of the Second part, all the Chinese laborers requisite for 
the complete working of their several coal mines on the line 
of the Union Pacific Railroad, at the same prices and on the 
same terms and conditions as stated in a certain Contract for 
similar service made by Sisson Wallace & Co., for and in behalf 
of Chinese laborers, with the Rocky Mountain Coal & Mining 
Co., a copy of which is hereto attached, and made a part of 
this agreement. 

The said parties of the first part further agree to furnish 
to the said party of the Second part, upon a reasonable notice 
from their Gen'l. Superintendent, a sufficient number of 
Chinese laborers for the repairs of the track of the Union Pacific 

15. Cheyenne Daily Leader, June 16, 1882. 

16. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 6, 1881. 



Railroad, or such portion thereof, in addition to that which is 
now being worked by Chinamen, as the party of the Second 
part may require. . . .'^ 

The attached service contract stated: 

Chinamen agree to mine the coal, load it in Pit cars, and 
deliver it at the mouth of the room free from slack and rock, 
and assorted, either lump, small or mixed as directed, at 
Seventy Four (74) cents coin per ton of Twenty Two Hundred 
and Forty (2240) pounds, from all places, either rooms, levels 
or air courses. 

All cars or coal sent out of the mine in which there is slack 
or rock, will be docked half of their weight, and if men disobey 
their Foreman, or persist in sending out slack or rock, after being 
docked, they will be discharged. 

All men are to commence and stop work by the whistle. 

Company are to furnish tools, do the blacksmithing and 
repairing, furnish mules, harness and pit cars, and supply of 
water for the men. 

Company are to deliver coal at the houses of all the laborers, 
for which the Chinamen are to pay 50 Cents per man per 

Company are to furnish houses for the Chinamen to live 
in at $5, per month for each house. ^* 

The Chinese, like their American counterparts, labored 
in the coal mines under extremely harsh conditions. When 
the Almy mine first exploded in 1881, thirty-eight miners 
died. Of this number, thirty-five were Chinese and three 
v^ere what the newspapers of the time called "white 
men."" This was the first coal mine explosion in Wyoming 
history. It would not be the last time emigrants would lose 
their lives mining coal in Wyoming. 

The problem of prejudice, added to the problems of 
working in a hazardous job, made the Chinese emigrants 
lives all that more difficult. The fact that they were con- 
tracted laborers was not much different than what other 
workers in the nineteenth century experienced, but the 
contract Wyoming Chinese miners had with Beckwith and 
Quinn differed from the contract the "white miners" 
received. While a White miner might be forced to sign a 
rent contract for company housing, there was no middle 
man with whom the American miners had to deal. Beck- 
with and Quinn first received the Chinese workers' 

17. "Contract for Chinese Labor & etc.. Sale of Supplies, Rent of 
Warehouse Rock S," December 24, 1875, p. 1, Beckwith, Quinn, 
and Company and Union Pacific Railroad Co., U.P. Coal Box 3, Union 
Pacific Archives, Omaha, Nebraska (hereafter cited as UP). 

18. "Contract for Chinese Labor & etc.. Sale of Supplies, Rent of 
Warehouse Rock S," December 24, 1875, p. 3, UP. 

19. A. Dudley Gardner and Verla R. Flores, Forgotten Frontier: A History 
of Wyoming Coal Mining (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1989), 
p. 42. 

wages. 20 Under the 1875 contract. Union Pacific paid 
Beckwith and Quinn; Beckwith and Quinn, in turn, paid 
the Chinese miners. With this arrangement there was 
always the possibility that Beckwith and Quinn would 
profit from Chinese workers wages. 

Faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges and 
even in the face of prejudice, the Chinese who lived in 
Wyoming Territory developed a full fledged ethnic com- 
munity that maintained close ties to their homeland. They 
maintained traditional dress, as is pointed out in the arti- 
cle about the merchant visiting Cheyenne. The Chinese 
also practiced their own religions. The 1880 census states 
that a Chinese priest lived in Rock Springs. Bill Nye, "the 
humorist," in one of his columns made light of the 
"celestial Josh." While his article makes light of this "bass 
wood diety," he pointed out that Chinese religions and 
traditions were being practiced in Wyoming. Nye's 
criticism of the diety states: 

I do not wish to be understood as interfering with any 
man's religious views: but when polygamy is made a divine 
decree, or a bass wood diety is whittled out and painted red 
to look up to and to worship, I cannot treat that so called 
religious belief with courtesy and reverance. I am quite liberal 
in all religious matters. People have noticed that and remarked 
it, but the Oriental god of commerce seems to me to be greatly 
overrated. 2' 

Nye, in his much noted satiric wit, provided a glimpse of 
fact. The Chinese did indeed set up Joss Houses and bring 
in notions of gods that could help them prosper. The hope 
of prospering is why they came to Wyoming. 

The newspapers of the nineteenth century often com- 
mented on the fact "white men" were losing their jobs to 
Chinese workers. ^^ The problem was simple and straight- 
forward. While many blamed the Union Pacific for bring- 
ing the Chinese into Wyoming, most workers vented their 
frustrations against these Asian emigrants. The news- 
papers of the late nineteenth century recorded this frustra- 
tion. The newspapers also grasped the basic reason behind 
why the Chinese chose to work in railroad camps, gold 
mines, and coal mines, but they failed to perceive the basic 
economic, social, and cultural reasons behind why the 
Chinese chose to emigrate to Wyoming. Only recently have 

20. "Contract for Chinese Labor & etc., Sale of Supplies, Rent of 
Warehouse Rock S," December 24, 1875, p. 1, UP. 

21. Chcycinic Daily ii-ihifr, February 22, 1884. 

22. e.g. Wi/oiiinig Viibtiiic |Clio\enno|, Ma\' 14, 1870, 



FALL 1991 

historians, such as Henry Tsia, begun to discuss the com- 
plexities of why the Chinese came to America. ^3 Com- 
prehending why the Chinese came to Wyoming in the late 
1800s was of little interest to most newspaper editors. The 
prejudice of the last century is obvious; with newspapers 
and state and territorial laws reflecting this fact. 2"* The 
Chinese Massacre tragically revealed the depth of this pre- 
judice. What is sometimes lost in discussing and describ- 
ing the Chinese experience in Wyoming is that they 
contributed much to the development of the territory and 
later the state. 

Chinese emigrants contributed to the development of 
the territory in many ways. The contributions came dur- 
ing Wyoming's early years and continue to the present. 
During the territorial years the Chinese worked as coal 
miners, railroad repairmen, cooks, waiters, servants, 
barbers, doctors, priests, merchants, wash house attend- 
ants, and proprietors. They often served in roles tradi- 
tionally relegated to females in the nineteenth century. This 
caused a few problems, most notably in Helena, Montana, 
where there was a protest against Chinese laundries. But 
in Wyoming, where most of the Chinese lived in remote 
towns and section camps, Chinese cooks, waiters, laun- 
dry men, and servants found ready employment. In towns 
like Rock Springs where the ratio was almost four men to 
every one woman, the Chinese filled an important niche. 
Performing services that were often seen as demeaning, 
or of lesser status, the Chinese contributed much to the 
welfare and well-being of miners, railroad workers, 
and even the people in the surrounding agricultural 

Within the mining and railroad industries, the con- 
tributions of the Chinese to Wyoming are even more ob- 
vious. By 1885 the number of Chinese living in Rock 
Springs had increased to five hundred residents,^^ most 
of whom were coal miners. On the average, in 1885, the 
coal miners at Rock Springs produced "450 cars per week." 

The coal mines at Rock Springs were "the largest in the 
west"2^ and the Union Pacific Railroad depended on the 
Rock Springs coal miners for the bulk of their coal supply. 
To illustrate how important the Chinese miners were to 
Union Pacific's ventures at Rock Springs: in October, 1885, 
one month after the Chinese Massacre, the Rock Springs 
No. 3 mine produced between 245 and 280 cars per week. 
The Cheyenne Daily Leader stated: "About 200 Chinamen 

were working in No. 3 There are no white miners 

..." underground. 2^ Only two other mines were being 
operated by Union Pacific in late October 1885. Number 
1 mine had 130 Chinese and only twenty-five White miners 
underground. Union Pacific No. 4 had thirty Chinese and 
four White coal miners employed, ^s in light of the fact 
these Chinese miners were working with the charred re- 
mains of the once sizeable Chinatown right at their 
doorstep, their contribution to the continued operation of 
the Union Pacific Railroad is worth remembering. In spite 
of great adversity, the Chinese workers of the last century 
contributed much to the future state of Wyoming. This con- 
tribution is yet to be fully understood. As more efforts focus 
on the various jobs and services the Chinese actually per- 
formed in Wyoming, our view of the Asian experience in 
the state will be more complete. 

23. See Shih-shan Henry Tsai, China and the Overseas Chinese in the United 
States, 2868-19U (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1983). 

24. Laws of Wyoming (Cheyenne: H. Glafcke; Leader Steam Book and Job 
Print, 1876), chapter 64. This law was "An Act to Prevent Intermar- 
riage between White Persons and those of Negro or Mongolian 

25. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 4, 1885, p. 3. 

26. Cheyenne Daily Leader, September 4, 1885, p. 3. 

27. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 25, 1885, p. 3. 

28. Cheyenne Daily Leader, October 25, 1885, p. 3. 



by Don Hodgson 

In 1911, at the age of thirty-eight, with a wife and five 
children, August Beierle immigrated to the United States 
from southern Russia. A well-built, sturdy, bear-like man 
with a prominent mustache, he moved his family to a small 
farming community in North Dakota. After two years he 
loaded his belongings and family into a wagon and went 
to southeastern Wyoming where he took up a homestead 
on the treeless prairie north of Torrington. During the next 
few summers the family worked as seasonal beet workers 
in Colorado to bring in money. Beierle soon left the home- 
stead to become a tenant farmer, or renter, on several farms 
in the North Platte Valley. Finally, in 1928, he was able to 
buy his own farm.^ 

August Beierle's life can be used to extract the story 
of the "other Germans" who settled in Wyoming and 
became an important part of the early sugar beet industry 
in the state. Beierle had come to the United States at the 
peak of the immigration of Germans from Russia. Like 
other Germans from Russia, he had settled on the Great 
Plains, raised a large work-oriented family, and eventu- 
ally owned his own farm. By the time he died in 1940, he 
was a naturalized citizen, had given up some of the old 
ways, spoke English, and was well within the community's 
social mainstream. Moreover, because of his influence 
among the local German farmers, his advice was sought 
by local sugar company officials who respectfully referred 
to Beierle as "The Kingpin. "^ 

From territorial days, German people had achieved 
status and prosperity in Wyoming. Often lauded for their 
energy and business acumen, they organized their own 
fraternal groups such as Cheyenne's Turnverein Society 
and the Maennerchor Society, a men's singing group in 

Laramie. 3 Termed the Reichsdeutsche, they traced their 
ancestry to the various principalities in the German 

After 1900 their numbers were added to by another 
German people, who spoke the same language (although 
with marked differences), practiced German customs, and 
perceived themselves as German. Yet, their homeland was 
Russia. These Germans from Russia (sometimes referred 
to in the literature as German-Russians or Russian- 
Germans) can be termed with Volksdeutsche, or more 
simply, the "other Germans.'"' They identified with the 
German culture, were proud of being German, but came 
from areas outside the German principalities. Since they 
had come from Russia they were often called "Rooshins," 
which instinctively injured their pride and aroused their 
anger. If they felt degrees of prejudice in this country, they 
also found that the Reichsdeutsche looked down upon 
them as inferior. Their assimilation process took longer 
than their German counterparts, and despite being thought 
of as Russians, they found themselves discriminated 
against during World War I. 

While living in Russia, they held to their German 
heritage, deliberately separating themselves from their 
Russian neighbors. From about three hundred mother 
(original) colonies, they had grown to thirty-three hundred 
colonies and a population of 2.7 million by World War I.^ 
Although they shared in being German, there were im- 
portant differences among themselves in Russia that had 

1. Interview with Rose Abel, Torrington, Wyoming, August 15, 1990. 

2. Donald Hodgson and Vivien Hills, "Dream and Fulfillment; Germans 
in Wyoming," in Peopling the High Plains: Wyoming's European Heritage, 
ed. Gordon O. Hendrickson (Cheyenne: Wyoming State Archives 
and Historical Department, 1977), p. 48. 

Ibid., pp. 41-42. 

Timothy J. Kloberdanz, "Volksdeutsche: The Eastern European Ger- 
mans," in Plains Folk: North Dakota's Ethnic History, ed. William C. 
Sherman and Playford V. Thorson (Fargo: North Dakota Institute for 
Regional Studies, 1986), p. 1 19. 

Theodore C. Wen/laff, od. and trans., "The Russian Germans Come 
to the United Slates," Ncbinska llit^toru 40 (Winter U'cS): 3S0-3S1. 



FALL 1991 

a bearing on their later settlement in America. Some dif- 
ferences stemmed from their origins in the different Ger- 
man principalities, denoted by a variety of dialects.^ 
Religion was the most conspicuous difference. An 1897 
Russian census indicated that 76 percent of the Germans 
in Russia were Lutheran, 13.5 percent Catholic, 3.7 per- 
cent Mennonite, and the remainder from different sects. 
Moreover, their villages were exclusively Catholic, 
Lutheran, or another sect.^ Contacts were limited, and in- 
termarriage between religious groups almost nonexistent.*^ 
The authoritative works that treat their migration into 
Russia from Germany, location of settlement in Russia, 
social and family life, religious practices, and economic con- 
ditions can be found in such books as Karl Stumpp's The 
German Russians: Two Centuries of Pioneering; Richard 
Sallet's Russian German Settlements in the United States; 
Adam Geisinger's From Catherine to Khrushchev: The Story 
of Russia's Germans; James W. Long's From Privileged to 

Dispossessed: The Volga Germans, 1860 to 1917; and Fred 
Koch's The Volga Germans: In Russia and the Americas, from 
1763 to the Present. Since there were two regions of heavy 
German settlement in Russia, the Volga and the Black Sea, 
historians have drawn distinctions between those two 
groups which are important in discussing their settlement 
in the United States. 

The Black Sea Germans settled on the northern Great 
Plains, in the Dakotas and Canada, while the Volga Ger- 
mans went to the central Great Plains. ^^ Hence, of North 
Dakota's nearly seventy thousand first and second genera- 
tion Germans from Russia in 1920, some 97 percent traced 
their origins to the Black Sea region." In addition, in states 
such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kan- 
sas, their communities reflected their religious affiliation; 
and even their home communities in Russia. ^^ 

Their high birth rates in Russia led to a population that 
outstripped the availability of farm land. Black Sea Ger- 
mans responded by buying lands from Russian landhold- 
ers, but Volga Germans were fixed to a village system, the 
mir, which periodically redivided the land among the male 
inhabitants of the village, resulting in smaller landhold- 
ings.^^ As economic pressures built, the Russian govern- 
ment shifted its policies toward its German colonists in the 
second half of the nineteenth century. Since they had en- 
joyed certain privileges since coming to Russia, they were 
alarmed at the changes. Catherine the Great had issued 
manifestos in 1762 and 1763 promising free land, freedom 
of religion, exemption from military services and taxes, 
interest-free loans, and other benefits. Historian Fred Koch, 
however, contends that from the beginning of their settle- 
ment in Russia, the Russian government failed to honor 
its promises. The culmination of Russia's mistreatment of 
its productive German minority reached tragic proportions 
under communist rule and Stalin's policies which de- 
stroyed the German villages and culture through disper- 
sal and deportation of German peoples. ^^ 

Russian-German immigrants August and Elizabeth Bcicrlc came to the 
United States in 19VI and settled in the Torrington area in 1926. 

7. Kloberdanz, "Volksdeutsche," p. 165. 

8. Richard Sallet, Russian-German Settlements in the United States, ed. and 
trans, by Lavern J. Rippley and Armand Bauer (Fargo: North Dakota 
Institute for Regional Studies, 1974), p. 13. 

9. Kloberdanz, "Volksdeutsche," p. 127. 

10. Ibid., p. 91. 

11. Ibid., p. 138; Sallet, Russian-German Settlements, p. 110. 

12. Sallet, Russian-German Settlements, p. 91. 

13. Adam Giesinger, From Catherine to Khrushchev: The Stori/ of Russia's 
Germans (Battlefield, Saskatchewan: Marian Press, 1974), p. 55. 

14. Fred C. Koch, The Volga Germans: In Russia and the Americas, From 
1763 to the Present (University Park: The Pennsylvania University 
Press, 1977), pp. 173-189. 



The erosion of German privileges in Russia occurred 
at the time the high plains of the American West were 
being opened, thus offering the prospect of cheap land to 
immigrants. The expansion of the railroads which were 
eager to sell their government granted lands, accompanied 
by low passage rates on ships and the railroads, proved 
a strong attraction to the German people in Russia. His- 
torians disagree in explaining the causes of the German 
from Russia emigration. Sallet asserted that conscription 
was the initial impetus for these people moving to Canada, 
the United States, Brazil, and Argentina during the 1870s. ^^ 
Richard Scheurerman and Clifford Trafzer, who focused 
on their movement from the Great Plains region of the 
United States to the Pacific Northwest, agreed with Sallet, 
but placed more emphasis on a combination of causes, in- 
cluding a Pan-Slavic movement. ^^ North Dakota anthro- 
pologist and historian Timothy Kloberdanz rejects conscrip- 
tion as the primary cause, except for the Mennonites and 
Hutterites. Kloberdanz argued that "... the primary 
reason for moving to the New World was land hunger. "^^ 

The numbers of Germans from Russia in Wyoming did 
not approach the numbers or percentage of the popula- 
tion found in other states, such as the Dakotas, Nebraska, 
Kansas, Colorado, Washington, Oklahoma, Michigan, or 
Wisconsin. 1^ Yet, because of the state's small population, 
the Germans from Russia assume a degree of importance 
in Wyoming. The 1910 census recorded 763 foreign-born 
from Russia in Wyoming, and 1,482 ten years later. ^^ Ac- 
cording to Sallet's estimates, nearly all were Volga 
evangelicals. 2*^ Their numbers remained at approximately 

15. Sallet, Russian-German Settlements, p. 65. 

16. Richard D. Scheurerman and Clifford E. Trafzer, The Volga Germans: 
Pioneers of the Northwest (Moscow: University Press of Idaho, 1985), 
pp. 91, 93. 

17. Kloberdanz, "Volksdeutsche," p. 130. 

18. Sallet, Russian-German Settlements, pp. 110-111. 

19. U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Thirteenth 
Census of the United States Taken in the Year 2910: Abstract of the Census 
with Supplement for Wyoming (Washington, D.C.: Government Print- 
ing Office, 1913), table 14, "Foreign Born Population by Country of 
Birth for the United States and Divisions, 1890-1910 and by States 
1910 and 1900," pp. 204-207; U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau 
of the Census, Abstract of the Fourteenth Census of the United States: 
1920 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1923), table 
73, "Country of Birth of Foreign Born Populations by Divisions and 
States, 1920," pp. 306-.309. 

20. Sallet, Russian-German Settlements, p. 112. 

thirteen hundred foreign-born in the 1930 and 1940 cen- 
sus. ^i The importance of the Germans from Russia went 
beyond numbers in respect to the early growth of the sugar 
beet industry in Wyoming. Their families provided the 
necessary labor, and upon farming for themselves, became 
recognized beet farmers, known for hard work and thrift. 
In that beets were grown later in Wyoming than Nebraska 
and eastern Colorado, the Germans from Russia had 
already lived for several years in other states before set- 
tling in Wyoming, an important fact to consider in study- 
ing their assimilation. They came into the Big Horn Basin, 
often from Colorado or Montana when factories were built 
at Lovell and Worland, and irrigated lands were available 
for growing beets. They moved up the North Platte 
Valley from the Scottsbluff area to Lingle and Torrington 
about the same time.22 Based on a review of 105 obituaries 
in the Torrington Telegram of Germans from Russia who had 
settled in Goshen County, the majority had been born be- 
tween 1870 and 1900 in Russia, had come to the United 
States between 1900 and 1915, and entered Wyoming pri- 
marily from 1920 to 1940. With few exceptions, they had 
resided at least ten years in other places before coming to 
Wyoming. 23 

In order to gain a more complete picture and profile 
of the Germans from Russia who settled in Wyoming, an 
analysis of the naturalization records could be undertaken. 
Immigrants seeking to become citizens filed a declaration 
of intention followed, usually several years later, by a peti- 
tion for naturalization. These two documents, along with 
depositions from supporting witnesses, should enable 
some quantitative studies to be made. The data should per- 
mit us to know with greater certainty the home region of 
Wyoming's Germans from Russia (testing the assumption 
that most were Volga Germans), size of families, average 
length of residence in other states prior to entering Wyo- 
ming, when they came in significant numbers, and the 
length of time before attaining citizenship. 

Other states are ahead of Wyoming regarding research 
about the Germans from Russia. Numerous articles chroni- 
cle their settlement in Kansas, and one of the best models 
for explaining settlement patterns within a state is Klober- 
danz's chapter on the Germans from Russia in Plahis Folk: 

21. U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Sixteenth Cen- 
sus of the United States: 1940, Population, Vol. 11, Characteristics of the 
Population, Part 7, Utah-Wi/oming (Washington, D.C.: Government 
Printing Office, 1943), table 14, "Foreign-born White, by Country of 
Birth, by Sex, for the State, Urban and Rural: 1940 and 1930," p. 714. 

22. Sallet, Russian-German Settlenwnts. p. 52. 

23. Torrington Telcgrnm, 1907-1976. 



FALL 1991 

North Dakota's Ethnic Histon/. Nebraska was fortunate in 
having Hattie Plum Williams as a first-hand observer and 
researcher in the early 1900s. Her 1916 doctoral disserta- 
tion was a social study of the Germans from Russia in the 
Lincoln area. Based on her early notes the American His- 
torical Society of Germans from Russia in 1975 sponsored 
the publication The Czar's Germans. In recent years, Pro- 
fessor Frederick Luebke has carried out a good deal of 
scholarly research on the Germans in Nebraska. Colorado, 
which became the nation's leading beet-producing state 
by the 1920s, has received a good deal of attention in 
various articles. The novel, Second Hoeing, by Hope 
Williams Sykes, used the Fort Collins area as the setting 
to reveal life among the Germans from Russia. It tells of 
a young girl struggling to gain identity among her own 
people, and her relationship with a domineering father. 
An excellent overview of historians who have written about 
the Germans from Russia can be found in Nancy Holland's 
article "Our Authors and Their Books," in the Fall, 1980, 
issue of the Journal of the American Historical Society of Ger- 
mans from Russia.^'* That publication, along with the Heritage 
Review, published by the Germans from Russia Heritage 
Society (formerly the North Dakota Historical Society of 
Germans from Russia), are invaluable for research efforts. 

The ground breaking work about the Germans from 
Russia in Wyoming appeared in the 1977 Peopling the High 
Plains, edited by Gordon O. Hendrickson. It includes a 
chapter by this author and Vivien Hills describing the social 
behavior and contributions of the Germans from Germany 
and the Germans from Russia, and relates the differences 
between the two groups. 

The elevation of work over education, characteristic of 
those people while living in Russia, was also evident 
among the families in Wyoming in which the parents had 
come from Russia. Various interviews with the children 
of such families substantiated the devotion to work at the 
expense of education. ^^ jYiq children were routinely kept 
out of school to do field work or household chores, and 
it was normal for the youngsters to miss a month of school 

in the fall for beet harvest. ^^ None of August Beierle's 
twelve children went past the eighth grade. While many 
children accepted the necessity of work, others felt a sense 
of resentment at being deprived of an education. ^^ 

While the work ethic was deeply ingrained in family 
members, changes were becoming evident in the house- 
holds of Germans from Russia prior to World War II, dur- 
ing the late stages of assimilation. German gradually gave 
way to English in the home, particularly when the children 
went to school. The father's autocratic discipline mellowed. 
The size of families declined. "American" foods replaced 
German foods, and customs were dropped. There remains 
a need for oral history interviews to document these and 
other changes. The status of women, treatment of children, 
prejudices, family roles, work habits and customs are some 
of the topics for further investigation. 

Another productive means of studying social change 
would be to review the records of churches in Wyoming 
which were either German or had a high percentage of 
German members. Although some three-fourths of the 
Germans from Russia were Lutheran in Russia, many 
became affiliated with the Congregational Church in the 
United States. One authority estimates that approximately 
one-third of the evangelical Germans from Russia became 
affiliated with the Congregational Church in this country. ^^ 
They found themselves confused by the variety of Lutheran 
synods in the United States; were attracted by the doctrine 
of "the priesthood of all believers" in Congregationalism; 
were given local autonomy; and received the support of 
the Congregational Church. ^^ This occurred in Torrington's 
First United Church of Christ, formerly the First Congrega- 
tional Church. It had been organized in 1934 as the 
Evangelical Lutheran-Reformed St. John Church. Unable 
to work out differences with the Lutheran Evangelical 
Synod, the church went over to the Congregational 
denomination, receiving recognition from the Colorado 
Conference of German Congregational Churches in 1935.^° 

Services at this church were held in German until 1944 
when some members wanted to use English in the service. 

24. Nancy Bernhard Holland, "Our Authors and Their Books," journal 
of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia 3 (Fall 1980): 

25. Interview with Rose Abel, Torrington, Wyoming, August 15, 1990; 
interview with Gertrude Beierle, Torrington, Wyoming, August 15, 
1990; interview with Henry Heckman, Jr., Torrington, Wyoming, 
August 20, 1990; interview with Christina Keller, Torrington, Wyo- 
ming, August 18, 1990; interview with Elizabeth Schlagel, Torrington, 
Wyoming, August 17, 1990; and interview with Lillian Weglin, Tor- 
rington, Wyoming, August 18, 1990. 

26. Interview with Rose Abel, Torrington, Wyoming, August 15, 1990. 

27. Interview with Christina Keller, Torrington, Wyoming, August 18, 

28. Koch, The Vol;^a Germans, p. 120. 

29. Ibid. 

30. History of Ev. Lutheran-Reformed St. John Church: (later) First Congrega- 
tional Church; (later) First United Church of Christ, Torrington, Wyoming, 
July 22, 1934 to June 1, 1952. Unpublished records and minutes 
translated from German to English by W. W. Hiller. First United 
Church of Christ, Torrington, Wyoming. 



The issue of whether and when to use English divided 
members, resulting in a compromise of two services on 
Sunday, one in German and one in English. Other changes 
can be detected in the minutes, which were recorded in 
German from 1934 to 1952. At a May, 1946, meeting, the 
board approved the attendance and participation of women 
at the business meetings of the church, but had to reap- 
prove the same measure at its August meeting, possibly 
an indication of resistance.^' Since the church was or- 
ganized, a series of thirteen permanent and interim Ger- 
man ministers served the church, with the first non- 
German minister being appointed in 1986. Only recently 
was a woman elected to the church board. ^^ 

Gertrude Beierle, a member of that church, and a 
daughter-in-law of August Beierle, recalled how she and 
her new husband John shocked the congregation when the 
two sat together during a church service. It had always' 
been customary for the women to sit on one side of the 
church and the men to sit on the other side during ser- 
vices, a practice reminiscent of Russia. Afterward, other 
couples, she remembers, started sitting together. ^^ 

The ability of the Germans from Russia to acquire land 
and become accepted in the social mainstream contrasts 
with Mexican-Americans who by the 1930s were replac- 
ing the former as beet labor. The appearance of Mexican 
workers in Wyoming's beet fields was actually quite early. 
When the Christian Welsch family came by train from Lin- 
coln to the Lingle area to work beets in the spring of 1919, 
the father would not allow his family to share overnight 
accommodations in a railroad car with Mexican families. 
Not only had the Great Western Sugar Company recruited 
Welsch's family and other Germans from Russia, but it had 
also recruited Mexican workers.^'* 

After the Great Western Sugar Company built a sugar 
factory in Lovell in 1916, it actively recruited Mexican 
workers for beet work, and to ensure a more stable, per- 
manent supply of labor, established company houses for 

a Mexican colony in the community. ^^ Noting that the Ger- 
mans from Russia had been able to rent and buy land in 
the Lovell area, Augustin Redwine stated that many Mex- 
ican beet workers were able to do the same. 3*' However, 
Dennis Valdes in the Spring, 1990, issue of Great Plains 
Quarterly, asserted that Mexican migrant beet workers were 
not able to emulate the Germans from Russia in acquiring 
land. 3^ According to Valdes, the sugar companies had been 
willing to extend loans, provide factory jobs, and give 
general assistance to the Germans from Russia, but failed 
to do the same for Mexican workers. Sugar company of- 
ficials saw the latter as migrant workers uninterested in 
becoming permanent landowners. 

Further research in respect to Wyoming might assess 
the transition of Germans from Russia as migrant beet 
workers to becoming renters and landowners. What were 
the differences in labor patterns and problems faced by the 
Germans from Russia in comparison with those confront- 
ing Mexican workers? To what degree is Redwine correct 
regarding Mexican workers ability to gain lands; or does 
Valdes' view prevail in Wyoming? Were Germans from 
Russia who had become landowners and farm managers 
sympathetic toward Mexican workers in the beet fields? 
Additional research about the early growth of Wyoming's 
sugar beet industry should afford insights into the rela- 
tionship of both the Germans from Russia and Mexican 
people to that industry's expansion. 

As with other ethnic or racial groups in Wyoming, only 
passing attention has been given to the Germans from 
Russia. Often, inferences must be made based on the 
writings about these people's settlement in other states. 
There is a need to document their experiences in Wyoming, 
and to understand the late stages of the assimilation 
process, which in Wyoming was more individualistic. Fur- 
ther inquiry could be directed at determining patterns of 
settlement in Wyoming, relations with natives, social con- 
sequences of World War I, and the contributions of the 
Germans from Russia to the state's economy and social 

31. Ibid. 

32. Interview with Howard Campbell, Torrington, Wyoming, August 17, 

33. Interview with Gertrude Beierle, Torrington, Wyoming, August 15, 

34. Christian Welsch, "A Voice from the Past: A German Russian Life," 
jourmlof the American Historical Society of Gentians from Ri/ssm 4 (Spring 
1981): 52. 

35. Augustin Redwine, "Lovell's Mexican Colony," Aiiiuils of \\'i/omin\^ 
51 (Fall 1979): 27-35. 

36. Redwine, "Lovell's Mexican Colony," p. 32. 

37. Dennis Nodin Valdes, "Settlers, Sojourners, and Proletarians: Social 
Formation in the Great Plains Beet Industry, 1890-1940," Great Plains 
Qiiartcrtu 10 (Spring 1990): 110-123. 



by Sherry L. Smith 

When I began research on nineteenth century army of- 
ficers' attitudes toward Indians, I assumed the result would 
be a story about men. To my surprise, I quickly realized 
that even military history— a field long believed to be the 
province of male scholars studying male subjects— involved 
women too. To see this, one only had to read the record 
and be open to the fact that women's experiences and 
points of view have importance. 

Many officers' wives accompanied their husbands to 
western posts, including those of Wyoming. They wrote 
about their experiences, leaving a rich source of records 
concerning their interactions not only with other Anglo- 
Americans, but also with Indians, both males and females. 
Sometimes they wrote about native people in ways that 
surprise. For example, nineteenth century Indian women, 
so often presented in stereotypical (and often dehuman- 
ized) terms in contemporaries' and historians' works, 
become multi-dimensional human beings in some army ac- 
counts. While evidence exists of officers seducing and ex- 
ploiting helpless captives, other evidence reveals relation- 
ships between Indian women and military men built upon 
mutual respect and affection. Further, army officers' wives 
and Indian women found common ground in the rigors 
of child-bearing and rearing. Sometimes they helped one 
another through difficult moments (the birth of a child, the 
death of a child) and, at least for a moment, put aside 
assumptions about civilization and savagery, racial 
superiority and inferiority, conquerors and conquered. ^ 

Recognizing that women constituted a part of this 
history and realizing that gender plays a significant role 
in historical analysis, I asked several questions of my 

material— questions that more and more historians are ask- 
ing in all aspects of research on western history. Does in- 
corporation of women alter our view of history and, if so, 
how? Does inclusion of women raise new questions, and 
new areas of scholarship that traditional approaches 
neglect? Do men and women experience and perceive life 
in different ways? Is there a woman's culture that tran- 
scends race, ethnicity, or class? I found no simple, easy 
answers to any of these questions. But one thing was clear: 
restoring women to the Indian Wars chapter of western 
history resulted in a more humanized and a more com- 
plicated view of army-Indian relations in the nineteenth 
century. The same is undoubtedly true of all aspects of 

Believe it or not, much more can be done in western 
military history. Traditional topics are being reconsidered, 
with revisionists turning to insights offered by anthro- 
pologists and Indian and women's historians. Hopefully, 
the day has arrived when it is no longer tenable to write 
about an Indian Wars battle without consulting Indian 
sources as well as army ones. Further, women's and social 
history has had its impact on military history, providing 
fresh insights. Edward Coffman's The Old Army, Shirley 
and William Leckie's biography of Benjamin Grierson 
(really a study of the Grierson family), and Shirley Leckie's 
The Colonel's Lady (a collection of Grierson family letters) 
all involve women in a substantial way.^ None of these 
works addresses Wyoming specifically. Yet, the Leckies 

1. Sherry L. Smith, The View From Officers' Roiv: Ann}/ Perceptions of 
Western Indians (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1990). 

Edward M. Coffman, The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army 
in Peacetime, 1784-1898 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); 
William H. Leckie and Shirley A. Leckie, Unlikely Warriors: General Ben- 
jamin H. Grierson and His Family (Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1984); and Shirley Leckie, ed., The Colonel's Lady on the Western 
Frontier (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989). 



work on the Griersons could serve as a model for a similar 
study on the Carringtons of Fort Phil Kearny. Wyoming's 
frontier posts played host to a number of articulate women 
who left fascinating diaries and letters which deserve closer 
scrutiny— and integration into our understanding of the 
army in the West.^ 

Beyond adding women to traditional areas of inquiry, 
however, it is also clear that consideration of women leads 
to new issues, concerns, and questions. The recognition 
that women have a history reminds us that human ex- 
perience goes well beyond the "public spheres" of politics, 
business, or military campaigns. Private spheres, home 
and family, play equal if not more significant roles in 
peoples' lives. These are the domains where, historically, 
women's authority and experiences proved especially im- 
portant. In fact, this may be the area where women's 
history makes its most noteworthy contributions. His- 
torians only recently have come to understand what an- 
thropologists have long known. The day-to-day life of or- 
dinary people and the dynamics of their family relation- 
ships are worthy of study and reveal much about a culture. 
According to historian Susan Armitage, "even the most 
heroic people lead ordinary lives 99 percent of the time— 
and that is what we are looking for, to construct a realistic 
western history. "^ Women's sources— especially diaries 
and letters— prove to be among the most important re- 
sources historians have at their disposal to investigate 
domestic issues. Here, women's voices are often the 
strongest. They were the people most inclined to write 
about family. 

Two recent studies of Anglo-American families in the 
American West demonstrate some of the new questions 
historians are raising with respect to family, questions 
raised because historians are starting to look at women's 
sources. These two studies are interesting because they 
come to very different conclusions about the consequences 
of migration and settlement on family stability. In Far From 
Home: Families of the Westward journey, Lillian Schlissel, Byrd 
Gibbens, and Elizabeth Hampsten stress the disintegrating 

effect westward migration had on Anglo families. As Lillian 
Schlissel says of the Malick family of Oregon, "On the 
frontier, they learned not to be family, but strangers." The 
authors conclude, "discontinuity marked the frontier fam- 
ilies . . . dislocation altered— and sometimes shattered the 
families who struggled to redeem America's promises. "^ 

On the other hand, Elliot West's Growing Up With the 
Country: Childhood on the Far Western Frontier offers a more 
optimistic assessment of frontier family life. He finds that 
"far from disintegrating under the pressures of the day, 
[the family] proved flexible and strong."^ While he does 
not deny abuse and violence occurred in some families, 
he does not see these episodes as more characteristic of 
frontier families. West concludes that the companionate 
family and idealized views of children actually flourished 
on the western frontier. 

These books rely upon personal documents— the kinds 
of letters, diaries, photographs you may have in trunks in 
your own attic. Whatever you may think about their re- 
spective conclusions, both books nicely demonstrate the 
immense value of family case studies and they demonstrate 
ways in which any family's history can illuminate larger 
patterns of western and American history. Family focused 
investigations are relatively new (although the scholarly 
study of women in western history is hardly "old" since 
most of the work has been accomplished in only the last 
decade). Much needs to be done and certainly studies of 
Wyoming families can add to the discussion. We need to 
read and analyze whatever documentation family members 
left behind. We should collect oral interviews. Most im- 
portant, we must compare these personal written and oral 
reminiscences with more public records (birth, marriage 
and death certificates, land transactions, court records). 
Most useful will be those efforts which link individual 
families with broader themes, which go beyond the specific 
in order to say something about the kinds of issues raised, 
say, in the Schlissel and West books. 

I recently completed a Wyoming "family case study" 
dealing with Elinore Pruitt Stewart, author of Letters of a 

3. Potential sources include: Margaret Carrington, Ab-sa-ra-ka: Land of 
Massacre (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1868), recently reprinted by the 
University of Nebraska Press; Frances C. Carrington, My Army Life 
and the Fort Phil Kearny Massacre (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1911); 
Ada Adams Vogdes' journal from the 1860s, including time spent at 
Fort Fetterman, Huntington Library, San Marino, California; Luther 
Bradley Papers at the U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle 
Barracks, Pennsylvania. These papers contain correspondence between 
Bradley and his fiancee/wife, including letters written from Fort 
C. F. Smith. 

4. Susan Armitage, "Through Women's Eyes: A New View of the West," 
in Susan Armitage and Elizabeth Jameson, eds.. The Women's West (Nor- 
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), p. 14. 

5. Lillian Schlissell, Byrd Gibbens, and Elizabeth Hampsten, Far From 
Home: Families of the Westward joiirnei/ (New York: Schocken Rooks, 
1989), pp. 102, 242. 

6. Elliott West, Growin;^ Up Willi the Countrxj: Childhood on the Far Western 
Frontier (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1989), p. 156. 



FALL 1991 

Woman Homesteader 7 Like many other readers of that book, 
I was impressed with Elinore's story. So, when I was work- 
ing at the University of Wyoming, I nominated her home- 
stead cabin to the National Register of Historic Places. 
While completing the research for that nomination, how- 
ever, I discovered several surprising, yet very interesting, 
things about Stewart. Based upon her account I had as- 
sumed that Elinore was a single woman homesteader. I 
also assumed she proved up on her homestead. Research 
in the land records, however, revealed that she married 
one week after applying for a homestead as a single 
woman. Further, she relinquished her homestead and her 
mother-in-law immediately took it up, eventually proving 
up on the property. 

I have concluded the Stewart case reveals less about 
Wyoming's single women homesteaders and more about 
how many homesteaders operated in the context of fam- 
ily. Elinore's prose emphasized her determination to ac- 
quire this homestead on her own. But the story that 
emerges from an investigation of the public land records 
indicates this is also a story of family, a flexible and strong 
one on the Elliot West model. The land transactions of the 
entire family (husband, wife, mother-in-law in this case) 
played a key role in explaining how they managed to make 
a successful ranching operation in southwest Wyoming. 
It provides insight into the complex strategies western men 
and women devised in the process of homesteading. It sug- 
gests men and women (whether husband and wife, or 
sister and brother) often cooperated to assure them- 
selves—as family— a part of the public domain. Focusing 
on one woman's experience led me into a family study and 
away from the traditional, Turnerian emphasis on individ- 
ualism. Incorporating women into an investigation of 
homesteading alters our view of the entire homesteading 
experience as we increasingly realize that turning grass- 
lands into productive ranches often involved all family 

So far my examples have focused on middle class, 
Anglo-Americans. Clearly, much more work remains to be 
done on Wyoming and western women of all racial and 
ethnic groups as well as economic classes. In addition, 
much remains to be done on twentieth century develop- 

ments. Indians, Hispanics, Asian Americans, Blacks, Mor- 
mons, and working class men and women, of both the 
nineteenth and twentieth centuries, deserve attention. 
What impact did northward expansion have on Mexican- 
American families who found their way to Wyoming? 
What impact did outsiders, who moved into Wyoming 
from all directions, have on Indian families who considered 
this their homeland? Of course, many people who make 
up these groups did not leave the kinds of written 
documents historians traditionally rely upon. Their ex- 
periences are recorded in other ways, however. Census 
records, folklore, material culture, oral traditions, city direc- 
tories and court records, to name a few, all provide infor- 
mation that can help historians reconstruct at least some 
aspects of these men's and women's lives. 

Addressing factors such as race, gender, and class 
undeniably complicates the story of the West. It certainly 
challenges some historians' interpretations of the region as 
a place which always nurtured American notions of 
democracy and equality. In fact, some western historians 
argue that the one thing which binds together women, 
people of color, and the working class is their shared ex- 
perience of inequality. Others argue that recognition of class 
and ethnic diversity challenges assumptions about women's 
universal experiences. Class and racial considerations 
undercut gender as a unifying factor in women's lives. 

Finally, as far as the twentieth century is concerned, 
so little has been done on this state's last one hundred 
years, that the possible topics are endless. Among the 
questions that interest me about the post 1890s include: 
What kinds of active roles have women played in shaping 
Wyoming's politics since 1869 and how does that compare 
to other states? Is Wyoming's slogan, "The Equality 
State," borne out by twentieth century experiences? What 
has the reservation experience meant for the Indian women 
of Wind River of the last one hundred years? What has 
been the impact on their families, on their roles within the 
family, and on their positions of power within the tribe?^ 

Whether examination of women's history leads to a 
reconsideration of traditional topics or to the introduction 
of new issues into historical discourse, one thing is cer- 
tain: we are moving toward a more inclusive, compli- 
cated—and consequently— more complete understanding 
of Wyoming's past. 

7. Sherry L. Smith, "Single Women Homesteaders: The Perplexing Case 
of Elinore Pruitt Stewart," Western Historical Quarterly, XXII (May 1991): 

8. For an example of a study of twentieth century reservation-based In- 
dian women see Maria Powers, Oglala Women (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1986). 



Naming and Evaluating Women's 
Non-Wage Labor 

Ciittin;^ Alfalfa near Wheatland in 1903. 

The history of women and work in Wyoming begs for 
concerted research attention. The kind of work women in 
Wyoming have done does not fit handily into any of our 
favorite categories. The pioneer experience is tied to 
fascination with the Overland Trail and homesteading— 
temporary and marginal phenomena for even our famous 
cases, such as Elinore Pruitt Stewart. The theme of 
women's equality is tied to our political "firsts." Neither 
labor history nor social history, the foundation for much 
of women's history, have received much attention in Wyo- 
ming history circles, nor, in fairness, do they necessarily 
provide automatic templates for the kind of work many 
women in Wyoming do. 

That is where an interloper like me sneaks in. Since 
there is yet no women's history position at the University 
of Wyoming (the best hope has been that someone in some 
slot defined by period or region will know something about 

women), in recent years much of women's history has 
been left God forbid, to sociologists and women's studies 
faculty who think it is too important to be neglected. But 
neither sociology nor women's studies has until recently 
paid much attention to rural women either. I am hoping 
that my disparate credentials (as a ranch daughter from 
the Black Hills doing research on women in the Third 
World) and a rural sociology based on feminist theory may 
provide some ideas for research on the history of women's 
work in Wyoming. 

One of the first major projects of the Women's Studies 
Program, when it was still a voluntary organization of the 
Susan B. Anthony Women's Center, was a Wyoming 
women's oral history project. In 1979, playing the 
Humanities Council angle to the hilt, and depending en- 
tirely on its funding, the project was called "VV\'oming 



FALL 1991 

History and Contemporary Values," not even mentioning 
the dreaded word, "women," in its title. ^ 

The research from interviews taken in four diverse 
counties in southeast Wyoming produced a road show of 
public programs which traveled the state, featuring 
dramatizations of women's issues and a photo exhibit, por- 
traits of the interviewees.^ Vignettes, drawn from recurring 
themes in the interviews, focused on health and reproduc- 
tion. World War II, school teaching, and voluntary or- 
ganizations; all addressed women's work in its informal 
as well as formal aspects, traditional women's work as well 
as "frontier" exigencies, work for pay as well as "helping 
out" on the farm or ranch. This project, inspired by one 
directed by Corky Bush in Idaho, spawned a similar one 
and a forthcoming book edited by Mary Rothschild and 
Pam Hronek from Arizona women's experiences, titled 
Doing What the Day Brought, a reflection of the ambiguity 
of women's work.^ But since none of the principal par- 
ticipants in the Wyoming project were western historians, 
only now is that material being used by scholars in western 
women's history. 

Ten years later, now that even traditional historians 
are considering oral history sources as worthy of evalua- 
tion as written material, and women's studies has been 
mainstreamed into Arts and Sciences General Education, 
Honors programs and University Studies, it is easier to be 

1. We were probably not overly shy. On the strength of our initial 
success, we submitted a proposal for a second project, titled 
straightforwardly, "Feminism, Environmentalism, and Technology." 
We were turned down— and in a burst of disappointed creativity fit- 
ting the time, hatched an alternative proposal called the "Susan B. 
Anthony Breeder-Reactors." 

I served as project director of the funded oral history project, but 
Bernice Harris, now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tulsa, 
Melanie Gustafson, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the 
University of Maine, Patricia Hale, and Linda Putnam did much of 
the field work and performance. 

2. The original interviews were transcribed and deposited, along with 
archival quality reel-to-reel tapes, in the Historical Research Library, 
today part of the Department of Commerce, the Albany County Public 
Library, and the American Heritage Center. 

3. Mary L. Rothschild and Pamela Claire Hronek, Doing What the Day 
Brought: An Oral History of Arizona Women (Tucson: University of 
Arizona Press); also a widely used video production from the original 
project, still a popular Arizona Committee for the Humanities pro- 
gram. All three projects are described in Frontiers: A Journal of Women 
Studies, special issue, "Women's Oral History Two," VII (1983), in 
the section titled "Three Generations of an Oral History-Readers 
Theater Project: 'Telling Our Life Stories,' by Corky Bush, 'Woman 
as Subject, Oral History as Method,' by Katherine Jensen, and 'Us- 
ing Oral History to Find the "Common Woman," ' by Mary 

both straightforwardly supportive and honestly critical of 
this early work. The limits and possibilities of oral histories 
have been important to me, as a sociologist trained in the 
scientific method, with concerns (not to mention coUegial 
evaluation of my work) based on questions of representa- 
tive sampling, reliability, and validity of conclusions.* Even 
though I had always been a resister in the discipline, I 
knew that there were real problems in talking only to the 
survivors and the enthusiasts, that memory changes the 
shape of historic events just as the passion of a diary's 
moment does. My mother can now be romantic about the 
cookstove in our mountain cabin while she was not when 
it was her only source of heat for cooking, hot water, and 
a warm kitchen; and I probably could not have been as 
diligent an egg gatherer in early childhood as I remember 

At the same time, however, I knew that traditional 
sociological categories did not fit the descriptions I was 
hearing. Women do not necessarily have "multiple roles," 
for their work is intertwined into one thing called ranch 
wife or farm wife; rural families do not think of themselves 
as "dual career," or even "dual-worker" families, for those 
designations tend to be defined by wage labor. And farm- 
ing or ranching are not even "two-person careers," where 
a spouse supports and vicariously identifies with (her) part- 
ner's position a la "dean's wife," for there is much more 
sense of joint enterprise and joint success or failure. An 
example from Carol Rankin's project in western Wyoming 
reflects this complexity, ambiguity, and identification with 
family enterprise. 

We ran a saw mill in the Basin and I snaked the timber; 
I had my gall bladder out in October, I think it was, and the 
next spring I started snaking logs. I've done the off-bearing at 
the mill, and have scars all over my legs where the darn logs 
have fallen on me, but I can snake logs, I'll tell the world! . . . 
I remember one year in the spring when we hauled the 
manure from the corral to build up the dikes and dams for ir- 
rigating. For many days my daughter and I shoveled and hauled 
thirteen wagon loads of manure a day with a team of horses. 
Oh boy, we were tired. Then we went home to cook supper 
and milk all the cows. You just can't quit because you get tired. 
I wouldn't trade those years for anything.^ 

4. Katherine Jensen, "Can Oral History Contribute to Quantitative 
Studies?" SIROW Working Paper #11, November 1981, revised for 
International Journal of Oral History 5 (November 1984). 

5. Carol Rankin, "Spoken Words of Four Ranch Women," slide/tape 
production, Wyoming Council for the Humanities. 



I think some of the issues raised early in feminist 
scholarship remain to be answered. One of the most fun- 
damental is the naming of women's activities and experi- 
ences. In 1983 I published an article called "Mother Calls 
Herself a Housewife but She Buys Bulls. "^ I was trying 
in that piece to deal with a number of issues, including 
the socialization of rural girls to be economically and 
technologically competent, the theoretical vs. the real rela- 
tionship of women to machines, but also the difficulty rural 
women have in naming the work they do. They tend to 
describe long hours of relatively regular toil as "helping 

Surprising even to me is the extent to which this theme 
has persisted in my work to the present. In the last five 
years I have worked on the same problem of accounting 
for labor contributions in the radically different context of 
women working in Egyptian intensive agriculture.^ A few 
examples will illustrate remarkably familiar stories. 

While much of our current attention to the history and 
sociology of international women is aimed at understand- 
ing cultural, political, and social diversity, I have been more 
struck by commonalities in women's lives, especially 
among women in agricultural occupations. My colleagues 
and students have difficulty believing that I find little dif- 
ference in the gendered division of labor and relative status 
of farm women in rural America and rural Egypt. The ter- 
rain, the cropping, the appearance of farmers seem utterly 
dissimilar when comparing the spacious rural American 
West to the fifteen thousand villages crowded along the 
Nile Valley and the Delta. Islamic beliefs in women's 
distinct roles contrast sharply with the ideology of the 
Equality State in particular. But patterns of women's work 
and the acknowledgment of that work function in similar 

One aspect of the similarity is in the naming of 
women's activities. Like their North American counter- 
parts, women are rarely themselves called farmers unless 
there is no male in the household to claim that title. In 
Egypt, if there is no husband, there is very likely a father, 
an uncle, brother, or son present to represent the "farm 
widow" if not "farm wife," even though most Egyptian 

farm women own some land of their own.^ Muslim women 
are assumed to be secluded in the house, spending long 
hours preparing food and taking care of children, which 
they do. Their agricultural work is, like American farm 
women's, called "helping out.'"^ 

This helping out has always been considerable. The 
available statistics on numbers and proportions of Egyptian 
women working in agriculture vary wildly, but analysis 
of tasks which include female participation reflects not only 
the extent of their involvement, but remarkably few agri- 
cultural tasks which are not done by women. Women are 
most heavily involved in the demanding seasons of plant- 
ing and harvesting. They do most of the milking, mar- 
keting, and processing of milk and milk products, with 
some assistance from their daughters and less from their 
sons. More women than men participate in cleaning the 
animal fold and feeding and watering the animals. Women 
and girls predominate in taking care of all kinds of poultry 
and animals used in transportation. i" 

At issue is not so much accounting for women's par- 
ticular labors, but the more fundamental naming of 
women's work in the interesting conjunction of Western 
feminist assessment and emic definitions. In Egypt, tak- 
ing care of livestock is not considered agricultural, but 
rather household work. Whether that work is "house- 
work" because women do it, or because the animals live 
in the house, remains an issue. Nevertheless, even the 
tasks of loading the manure into baskets and leading the 
loaded donkey to the field each morning are not unam- 
biguously farm labor. They are in part "cleaning house."" 

In addition to seasonal cropping tasks and livestock 
work, Egyptian women are heavily involved in agricultural 
storage: drying the wheat on the roof, taking it to the mill, 
storing flour, storing the straw for fodder, drying the maize 

6. In Jan Zimmerman, ed., The Technological Woman (Praeger, 1983). 

7. I did research in Egypt during four periods between 1985 and 1989, 
on Women in Development grants through the Consortium for In- 
ternational Development, a Fulbright at the American University in 
Cairo and the Desert Development Center, and research leave from 
the University of Wyoming. This paper owes much, however, to the 
helpful suggestit)ns of both Audie Blevins and Erika Iverson. 

8. Under Islamic law women are entitled to inherit land, although only 
half as much as their brothers. Most retain title to their land, in part 
because of the precariousness of Egyptian marriages and great dif- 
ferences in age of marriage partners, hence the necessity of a woman 
to support herself should she be divorced or widowed. 

9. Lucie Wood Saunders and Soheir Mehenna, "Unseen Hands: 
Women's Farm Work in an Egyptian Village," Anthropolos^ical Quar- 
terly 55 (July 1986): 105-114. 

10. Yeldez Ishak, Zeinab El-Tobshy, Naima Hassan and Coleen Brown, 
"Role of Women in Field Crops Production and Related Information," 
EMCIP Publication 91 (July 1985): 11-15. 

11. Katherine Jensen, "Getting to the Third World: Agencies as 
Gatekeepers," in Women, International Development and Politics: The 
Bureaucratic Mire, in Kathleen Staudt, ed. (Temple, 1990), p. 257. 

12. Sonja Zimmerman, The Women of Kafr Al Bahr (Leiden University, 
1982), chapter 4. 



FALL 1991 

stocks for fuel, and shucking the corn cobs. Some, but not 
all of these are related to food preparation, but again, these 
traditional female jobs, even in a country focusing much 
attention on its food shortage, are not considered directly 
related to agricultural production in general, but as the 
female responsibility of post-harvest storage. ^^ The nam- 
ing of women's farm work suffers not only from the sur- 
prising indistinct sexual division of labor, but the lack of 
clear demarcation between consumption and production 
activities experienced by all women whose work is not 
remunerated with wages." In addition, like most women 
worldwide, they engage in many domestic activities related 
to child care and food preparation at the same time they 
are farming. 

"Helping out" also applies to the collaborative work 
traditionally claimed to be strictly men's work, but which 

requires significant female participation. A good example 
is plowing. Men typically guide the plow pulled by a draft 
animal, but the women go to the field to guide the animal 
and feed it berseem while it is pulling the plow. Berseem, 
the lush green annual clover, must be consumed only a 
little at a time, so the gamoosa eats during the process of 
plowing to avoid wasting valuable time or risking animal 
bloat. Girls and women run alongside the gamoosa with the 
loads of berseem they have cut and carried to the field being 
plowed. Also, because even the gamoosa lacks the turning 
radius to plow to the very edge without ending up in the 

13. Elise Boulding and others who have done task analysis research 
demonstrate these phenomena among North American farm women 
as well. See "The Labor U.S. Farm Women: A Knowledge Gap," 
Sociology of Work and Occupations 7 (August 1980): 261-290. 


A portion of a wall in the tomb of Sennedjcm, the chief architect to Ramses II. It depicts the deceased and his wife workin;^ in the fields of laru. 



irrigation ditch, the women plow the ends of the field by 
hand. These two traditional tasks explain why even in 1979 
Abou-Seoud and Farag found 40 percent of women report- 
ing participation in plowing even though it is still widely 
held in official reports that women never plow.^'' 

Beyond women's traditional, if indeterminate, respon- 
sibilities in farming, contemporary Egyptian women do 
more farming than ever. The migration of Egyptian males 
to other Arab states, reaching a peak of 3.5 million in 1985, 
has produced a widely recognized impact on farm fam- 
ilies. ^^ The very poorest persons in the village may have 
difficulty migrating, but a considerable number of land- 
holding peasants migrate. One study found that the rate 
of migration was relatively high among those who farmed 
two to five acres (or about three feddans, the average size 
Egyptian farm), but low among the small number with five 
acres or more.^^ When men leave to take wage jobs, women 
take on even more farming responsibilities. 

Even mechanization has not relieved the burden much. 
One of the great ironies of arguments about gender based 
divisions of labor, especially in physical work such as farm- 
ing, is that while the rationale for traditional work 
assignments is usually based on differences in physical 
strength, when machinery which lessens the muscle re- 
quirement is introduced, it hardly ever becomes the 
province of women. Most noticeable cases of this general 
pattern are found in West Africa, when women's horti- 
cultural enterprises shifted to mechanized cash crops con- 
trolled by men. 

A most striking example of contemporary Egyptian 
task assignment in mechanized agriculture appears in a 

14. Khairy Abot-Seoud and Flora Farag, "The Role of Women and Youth 
in Rural Development with Special Emphasis on Production and 
Utilization of Food," (unpublished, 1979). 

15. Ann Mosely Lesch, "Egyptian Labor Migration: Economic Trends 
and Government Policies," UFSI Reports [University Field Staff In- 
ternational] 38 (1985). 

16. Ann Mosely Lesch, "The Impact of Labor Migration on Urban and 
Rural Egypt," UFSI Reports 39 (1985): 7. Audie Blevins and I found 
a similar phenomenon among Wyoming ranchers experiencing the 
farm crisis of the mid-1980s. The men of small operations took wage 
jobs to help support their ranches while larger operators were less 
likely to. Audie Blevins and Katherine Jensen, "Farm Women's Con- 
tributions to Agricultural Operations," Great Plains Research (Fall 1991). 
Lesch reports that some women migrate as well, including several 
thousand employed as teachers in the separate girls' schools in Saudi 
Arabia. In addition to working in the professions of teaching and nurs- 
ing, half are in service jobs as maids and nannies. However, it ap- 
pears that the total female migrant population, including both wives 
accompanying husbands and vn'ohumi migrating alone, is undtT 10 
percent of the total. 

segment from a video tape of unstaged footage of women 
working in the fields. One shot showed a self-propelled 
combine harvesting wheat, an Egyptian man in western 
dress at the wheel. On the back stood one Egyptian woman 
in her village galibaya filling fifty kilo sacks with grain. 
When they were filled and tied, she lifted the sack to the 
head of another woman who carried it out of the field. ^^ 
Mona Abaza reported that "while a child of twelve years 
of age can drive a tractor to plough land, women are never 
seen operating any type of machine (water pumps, trac- 
tors, cars, bicycles). "^^ These machines seem not to im- 
prove the lot of the increasing proportion of farmers who 
are women. Adding to the growing disproportion of 
heavy labor falling to women is the insult that it is less 
valued. Abaza goes on: "Manual agricultural tasks which 
are performed by women or old males are socially de- 
valued. Wages paid to women are the same as for chil- 
dren, "i** And, of course, when women work on their own 
land, they receive no wages at all, nor are they likely to 
be recognized as farmers. 

While Egypt has long had professional women from 
the upper class, rural women are much more likely to be 
illiterate or barely schooled than are rural men. Rural 
women also still have a very high birth rate, averaging 
more than six live births. And Egyptian women do, for the 
most part, still experience strong proscriptions against 
wage work which will put them in the company of men 
from outside their families. These characteristics all dif- 
ferentiate them from North American farm women, and 
those in Wyoming in particular. 

When Audie Blevins and I recently reviewed quan- 
titative research on women's wage labor participation in 
family farming through the farm crisis of the 1980s in 
Wyoming, we found some remarkable similarities and in- 
teresting variations on the balance of wage work and farm 
work to sustain farm families. We also encountered some 
of the same problems in accounting for the value of 
women's labor contributions. 

Agricultural economic trends for Wyoming are not 
unlike those for the nation as a whole. In Wyoming and 
surrounding states the number of farms/ranches continued 
to decline in the early 1980s while farm/ranch acreage has 

17. "Women in Egyptian Agriculture," video produced by the Women s 
Committee of the Egyptian Major Cereals Improvement Project, a 
joint Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture/USAID project on which I 
worked in 1985 and 1986. 

18. Mona Agaza, "The Changing Image of Women in Rural Egypt," Cairo 
Papers i)i Social Science (American University in Cairo), 10 (Fall 1987): 75. 

19. Ibid. 



FALL 1991 

remained relatively constant. Wyoming agriculturalists, 
like other United States farmers and ranchers, have been 
adversely affected by low crop and livestock prices, by 
declines in farm land values, and by high farm credit costs. 
Furthermore, Wyoming farmers and ranchers were not 
spared the ravages of nature: a severe late spring snow 
storm in 1984 and a drought in 1985. All these factors com- 
bined to increase the financial stress of ranchers and 
farmers in Wyoming. 

Wyoming also experienced substantial growth of both 
its urban and rural areas during the 1970s. Wyoming's 
population expanded by more than forty percent with 
population increasing from 332,000 to 471,000. Rural and 
small town growth continued but at a slower rate during 
the early 1980s, and since 1984 population for the state has 
begun to decline, substantially for some counties. Wyo- 
ming's growth in the 1970s, as in much of the Middle East, 
was due to the massive development of its mineral and 
energy resources, particularly coal, oil, and natural gas 
resources. 2" 

Ranching/farming operations were likely affected by 
changes in both population and economic growth rates, 
including off-farm employment opportunities and greater 
availability of farm labor, as well as the necessity of off- 
farm labor to maintain the farm operation. ^^ We wanted 
to examine the impact of these changes on the allocation 
of women's labor. But the first difficulty was in determin- 
ing which women were farm/ranch independent operators, 
as well as those who worked in partnership with their 
husbands, those who worked at jobs off the land, and 
those who seemed truly to be "housewives" uninvolved 
with farm or ranch activities. Careful evaluation of each 
questionnaire was necessary to determine time allocations, 
income and other indicators which were more telling than 
the simple labels women gave themselves or their hus- 
bands assigned them in responding to the questionnaire. 

In Wyoming the allocation of farm labor is not simply 
that women pick up where men go to town, for Wyoming 
women are nearly as likely to take wage jobs off the farm 
as are men. The most important issue for men is the size 

20. Audie Blevins and Edward Bradley, "Rural Turnaround in Wyoming: 
Implications for Community Development," journal of Comniuniiy 
Development (1988). 

21. I do not differentiate between farms and ranches in Wyoming, for 
while there are some operations engaging solely in crop production 
and some which run only livestock, most counties in Wyoming reflect 
the state-wide average of 88 percent of agricultural sales coming from 
livestock, and most people who farm do so to support a ranching 
operation. Farming, however, is the generic term in American 
agriculture and its analysis. 

of their agricultural operation, with a clear inverse relation- 
ship between the size of the farm and the likelihood of 
working away from it. Like their Egyptian counterparts, 
men are less likely to work elsewhere if they have sizeable 

Compared to men's 1.41 jobs, women reported hold- 
ing 1.35 jobs, including their farm or household job. 
However, perhaps reflecting their lack of perceived cen- 
trality to the farming enterprise, the decision of women 
to take work off the farm is not strongly or consistently 
based on farm size, but is related to personal and life cy- 
cle variables of education, age, and presence of children. 

Education has been shown almost universally to have 
an effect on paid labor force activity, and this may be the 
greatest distinction between Egyptian and Wyoming farm 
and ranch women. As a group, Wyoming farm women 
have a high median education, at 13.01 years, and the 
higher the level of education the more likely these "farm" 
women will also work away from the farm, with "house- 
wives" showing the lowest median education, at 9.88 

Even so, women are more likely than men to be 
employed in traditional "female" occupations (jobs with 
low pay and prestige). White collar workers were most 
often teachers or bookkeepers; blue collar workers were 
usually school bus drivers or cooks. Other women tended 
to be employed in "pink-collar" jobs such as nursing, den- 
tal hygiene, library, and secretarial/clerical work. Neither 
the white collar "female" jobs nor the blue collar employ- 
ees tended to be in high paying jobs, despite these 
women's relatively high levels of education. Age is also 
related to the likelihood of off-farm employment. For ex- 
ample, the median age for women who work off the farm 
is forty-four years, and the younger they are, the higher 
the probability of holding a wage job. Those who farm have 
a median age of fifty-six years, and the median for 

22. Using several different kinds of statistical analysis, including both 
regression analysis and analysis of variance, we found a strong in- 
verse relation between four categories of farm size and men's off- 
farm employment. In Wyoming, because of the great variability in 
the productive capacity of land, we used an indicator of farm size 
and productiveness called Animal Unit Months, incorporating in one 
measure the size of farm, type of land, and number of animals in 
the operation. While overall, in a sample of 237 males, they held an 
average of 1.41 jobs (including their farm or ranching job), job holding 
was more prevalent among those on agricultural operations of less 
than 1,000 AUMs, where 1.63 jobs were reported, and less prevalent 
for operators on large agricultural holding with AUMs of 10,000 or 
more, where only 1.19 jobs were reported. 



homemakers, with a bi-modal distribution, is fifty-three 
years. Except for the group of homemakers in the thirty 
to thirty-four age group, homemakers are a much older 
group. Sixty-three percent of them are more than fifty years 
of age, including 26 percent who are more than sixty, while 
women who work off the farm include only 26 percent over 
the age of fifty. 

Although not a statistically significant relationship, 
women with children at home are less likely to work for 
wages. While we do not have data on ages of children 
(which would likely strengthen the relationship) among 
homemakers under fifty, the largest group are between 
thirty and thirty-four years of age, the prime childrearing 
years. Indeed, every homemaker in this age group has 
children at home, averaging 2.4 per family. An even larger 
proportion of women wage-earners fall in the thirty to 
forty-nine age groups (71 percent of the total), but they also 
have fewer children on the average and are more likely to 
have no children than are homemakers. 

Independent women farmers (operators) are usually 
thought to be worse off financially than women on other 
farms or single male operators. Our data fail to support 
this hypothesis. When reported adjusted gross income was 
examined, female operators (20) showed a median income 
of $20,500, while households headed by a male with 
spouse reported as a homemaker had a median of $14, 104; 
households where the female worked off-farm reported a 
median income of $11,600; households comprising single 
males reported a median income of $9,230, and the lowest 
median income was reported by households where both 
male and female members engaged in farm labor ($4,150). 
Caution must be used in evaluating these data since only 
156 of the respondents reported usable information. 

We know that in general these female agricultural 
operators are old-timers. Their mean age is sixty years, and 
noting that four have dependent children in their homes, 
the median is an even older sixty-two years. They average 
more than thirty-three years of residence at their present ad- 
dress. They also run sizeable operations. They own an 
average of 2,954 acres, and the twelve who rent more land 
from individuals or the government average an additional 
2,030 acres. And they have a nearly average amount of 
education for Wyoming citizens, at twelve years. Ten have 
completed between nine and twelve years of schooling, 
while eight have thirteen to sixteen years of education. 

The four women household heads with dependent 
children average forty-four years of age; all have had 
twelve or thirteen years of schooling and have spent an 
average of 27.5 years on the ranch they operate. They have 

larger acreages than the group as a whole, owning an 
average 5,037 acres and renting an additional 3,425 acres. 
Two of them have off -farm incomes as well, and two more, 
including a widow with seven children, have teen-age 
daughters who work part-time for wages. But they are 
among the most vociferous about their commitments to 
farming. One said, "I feel it's the most honest way to make 
a living and a good place to raise my kids." Another di- 
vorced and remarried household head asserted, "I will do 
anything to keep ranching." 

While different factors affect the choice of men and 
women farmers to engage in off -farm wage labor, the com- 
ments by respondents shed some light on the impact of 
their decisions for one or both partners to seek jobs off the 
farm in order to save the farm. A look at families in which 
both spouses farm exclusively provides an interesting com- 
parison of the logistics of commitment to farming. Of the 
thirty-seven families in which both farm, thirteen simply 
answered yes to the question about their expectation of 
being in the farm business five years from now, but twenty- 
five explained themselves, fourteen more with positive 
answers, seven with negative, and five with uncertain 
hopes or doubts. They speak of it as a life commitment: 
"It's what we wanted to do all of our lives, and would like 
to continue if we can make a living," or "I was born here 
and would like to ranch the rest of my life if I can keep 
from going broke." Even the most positive reflected the 
difficulty of their situations. One said "I need to ranch, 
I want to ranch. I like the outdoors and the animals. I 
would like a little more money though." Another reported, 
"If I had my choice of any job in the world I'd work the 
ranch, but with better weather, better prices and more time 

Among those families who have found or chosen off- 
farm employment, the commitment to farming is little dif- 
ferent, if their solutions are more varied and complicated 
by work schedules and distances. Of the twenty-seven 
male farmers with employed wives, only twelve suggested 
that their spouses' work had an important impact on the 
agricultural operation, and they were equally divided on 
the positive and negative effects. Several mentioned her 
having less time to help or having to hire help or schedul- 
ing ranch work around job schedules, while one described 
a fairly typical situation in the sparsely populated West, 
where the wife and children kept a house in town during 
the school week, leaving "no one to cook or keep house 
... no help with the ranch work" except on weekends. 
Others said simply, "We couldn't make it without her in- 
come," or "it helped to pay the bills this drv year as we 



FALL 1991 

had no income from the farm." Only one made the assess- 
ment simply in terms of life satisfaction: "She enjoys 

Even when both spouses work off the farm, male 
"heads of household" who answered the questionnaire 
seemed relatively comfortable with the idea of their 
spouses' wage work. Thirty-nine of fifty-six in the category 
reported no effect on the farm operation. Of those seven- 
teen who did think there was an effect, thirteen saw nega- 
tive impacts, mostly related to "things not getting done," 
while the positive comments relate economic realities: 
"Very, very poor prices cause absentee ownership and, 
to a certain degree, management. The ranch, successful 
as it is, could not during the past decade handle debt retire- 
ment and overhead without major outside employment." 

The thirty-nine men who saw little impact of their 
wives' off-farm work were more likely to feel the negative 
impact of their own off -farm labor. Although slightly fewer 
than half (16) said their wage work had an impact, four- 
teen thought it to be a negative one. They describe very 
specifically, "feeding after work and fencing and haying 
on weekends— always a patch job, a hurry-up job." Several 
described death losses during lambing or having to sell the 
cows because calving time was bad. And they found them- 
selves in a double bind: "It's hard to do all the things at 
the farm that I need outside income to do, but I need the 

outside income first," or, more simply, "Nothing gets 
done when I'm gone, but the income sure helps." Only 
one, who had described his commitment to farming by say- 
ing, "I want to feed the world, but I deserve a fair return 
on my investment," described his off-farm work positively: 
"It actually helps by keeping me informed with govern- 
ment programs and what is happening county-wide." 

These combinations and variations on farm and wage 
work point not only to the difficulties of farm families in 
maintaining a lifestyle to which they are committed, they 
also point to the continued difficulty in accounting, either 
privately or scientifically, for the economic contributions 
of women. In Wyoming, women's wage work seems some- 
what more likely to be positively credited as a contribu- 
tion to the maintenance of the farm (echoing past tax and 
inheritance laws), even though their absence often will be 
considered an inconvenience and necessitating extra week- 
end and evening farm work. In Egypt women have less 
education, more children, and greater difficulty working 
in the public, so their farm labor is both unquestioned and 
uncredited. In both places, men's off-farm labor is per- 
ceived as changing the nature of the farm operation, 
without acknowledging that it may be the complex work 
responsibilities of both partners that makes farm work so 
difficult at the same time that it makes keeping the farm 



by Roy A. Jordan 

Wyoming is one of a tier of western states celebrating 
their 100th birthday in 1989-90. There is as much dis- 
similarity as uniformity among them, but they all seem to 
be enduring their celebrations rather than commemorating 
them. There is a sense that they are at a point of decision, 
that it is one of those climacteric watersheds. We can use 
a water metaphor because when each of our separate 
characteristics is unraveled, water is at the base. 

The one, probably the only distinctive quality that 
makes the western states western, is their common lack 
of water, their aridity. The West is defined by its resources 
and water is the most fundamental element of all. Wyo- 
ming structured its water law and regulations to give en- 
couragement to the fastest possible development and to 
allow for the private advantage which that would provide.' 

However, all of Wyoming's efforts and all the federal 
government's money have not been able to legislate nor 
engineer dryness out of our condition. There just is not 
enough water, and there never will be. 

John Wesley Powell was one of those giants to whom 
state governments and national politicians should have 
listened. He knew that there was only enough water for 
a fifth of the West. In vain he implored the states and Con- 
gress to settle their boundaries on watersheds and the 
natural contours of the land rather than use straight survey 
lines. 2 The availability of the federal government's sub- 
sidized water and subsidized grazing lands conspired to 
build up in us a reluctance to accept the real limitations 
of the land. 

1. Gordon Morris Bakken, The Dci'clopiiiciit of Law on llic Rocky Momi- 
taii: Frontier: Civil Law and Society, 1850-1912 (Westport: Greenvviiod 
Press, 1983). 

2. John Wesley Powell, Report on the Lands of the Arid Re;^ion of the Lhiited 
States, House Executive Document, no. 73, serial 1805 (Washington, 
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1878). 

Wallace Stegner had it right when he admitted that the 
West was a quest for the "Big Rock Candy Mountain" 
where the bluebird sings to the lemonade springs. Stegner, 
in a "reckless" moment, once said that the West was a 
"geography of hope." He no longer is so sanguine about 
that. "The West is no more the Eden that I once thought 
it. "3 

This is a geography of limitations and Stegner proposes 
that we in the West need to gain satisfaction from narrower 
expectations. Once the West has settled down from its over 
development and over settlement, "when the agribusiness 
fields have turned to alkali flats and the dams have silted 
up, when the waves of over populations have receded," 
then we can "get on with the business of adaptation."^ 

This dilemma of too much farming and too many peo- 
ple has resulted from the blank acceptance of the myth of 
western abundance. This over extension of humanity in 
the West has been, as Stegner puts it, "growing to the 
limits of their water and beyond.'"* 

Historians generally have been too captured— co- 
opted, as it were— by the romantic heritage of a simple 
pioneering. Few, if any, have related to the constricting 
Wyoming culture which allowed us to get into this irreduci- 
ble water, land, and people crunch. 

The now and forever controversy over Indian water 
on the Wind River Reservation brings out in raw relief 
Wyoming's traditional distrust of Indian culture and lack 
of understanding of Indian identity. Some preparatory 
scholarship is essential to understand this case; Michael 
Massie has written convincingly of "The Cultural Roots 

3. Wallace Stegner, TVu' American West as Livin\; Space (Ann .Arbor; Uni\-t 
sity of Michigan Press, l'-)87), pp. (i4-(-i(->. 

4. Ibid., p. 86. 

5. Ibid., p. 24. 



FALL 1991 

of Indian Water Rights,"^ and the legal articles by Mark 
Squillace of the University of Wyoming's College of Law 
and, of course, Frank Trelease, should be required 
reading.^ They set out the boundaries of Wyoming water 
law and meandering appropriation rights, transfers, and 
in-stream flows. 

1 believe, however, that this particular confrontation 
does not turn on the fine points of law. This is still a cultural 
showdown. It is what Arizona Governor Bruce Babbit has 
called, "the gunfighter ethic of litigation that has 
dominated western law."^ 

The questions the state of Wyoming asks: who has 
jurisdiction over whom, and whose sovereignty is at risk, 
is an old-style response to a newly recognized situation. 
The Indian tribes need to be seen as the state's partner in 
the federal framework of national government. 

This state has not developed an investigative, reflec- 
tive historical tradition. There is little appreciation of 
history as literature. Historians may have agreed upon 
clustered memories: the buckskinned mountain man, the 
free riding cowboy, and the Slovakian hardrock miner may 
be seen as signatures of our culture. We have not yet, 
however, acquired the habit of agreeing on the pursuit of 
just what that culture really is. 

We in Wyoming have been brought up with the "West 
as success story" myth. We have cut our scholarly teeth 
on the wrong myth. We have been nurtured on Wyoming 
nationalism to the extent that we have not sufficiently 
looked at the transience of our people and the fraility of 
our culture. 

The natural gas "boom" that is certain to come to 
Wyoming will surely not be any more equitable nor far 
reaching nor long-lasting than the past coal and oil booms. 

We now have a "lite" world economy. Peter Drucker 
says, "the raw material economy has thus come uncoupled 
from the industrial economy.'"* The world may never again 
hold Wyoming's resources as preciously as it has in the 

6. Michael A. Massie, "The Cultural Roots of Indian Water Rights," 
Annals of Wyoming 59 (Spring 1987): 15-28. 

7. For a complete bibliography for Frank Trelease, see Land and Water 
Law Revieu), 22 (1987); Mark Squillace, "A Critical Look at Wyoming's 
Water Law," Land and Water Law Revieiv 24 (1989); and "Water 
Marketing in Wyoming," Arizona Law Review 31 (1989): 865-904. 

8. Bruce Babbitt, "The Future of the Colorado River," in New Courses 
for the Colorado River: Major Issues for the Next Century (Albuquerque: 
University of New Mexico Press, 1986), p. xii. 

9. Ed Marston, "Global Economy Turns 'Lite,' " in Reopening the Western 
Frontier, ed. Ed Marston (Washington, D.C. and Covelo, California: 
High Country News, 1989), p. 65. 

past. Meanwhile, that other traditional buttress for Wyo- 
ming, the federal government, has lost its inclination to 
fund more reclamation projects. The "go to hell, go to hell, 
give us more money" psychology that has energized Wyo- 
ming since the earliest days may well have run its course. 

The Wind River Reservation disputes indicate that 
there will be more tenacity, more strength, more legitimate 
demonstrations of Indian power and sovereignty. In Wyo- 
ming, that means water. Gretel Ehrlich had the image right 
when she said, "water is the sacristy at which we kneel. "i° 
That is probably truer for Indian people than it ever was 
for non-Indians. 

The tribes on the reservation are going to expand the 
uses of the water for which the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court 
confirmed their primary and best rights. For Indian peo- 
ple this assertion of water and land sovereignty is a way 
of healing a sacred identity. Water, like a ceremonial dance, 
makes the sacred visible. That is a cultural and political 
truth that Wyoming needs to face. 

For Indian people water has come to mean place. For 
non-Indians water is a resource, a piece of movable real 
estate. Water is the bedrock of farmers' anxiety and it af- 
fects their angle of vision, but it is still a commodity. 

The contention over water is only a small part of a 
larger struggle for Indian cultural preservation. Reserved 
Rights Doctrine and Prior Appropriations Doctrine are col- 
liding. Indian reserved rights are federal rights and predate 
state water rights; they are legally superior to appropria- 
tions made under state law.^^ The state's doctrine of prior 
appropriations is looking fragile. 

Winters rights, guaranteeing Indians sufficient water 
to develop their reservations, exist outside the state ap- 
propriation system. ^2 j]^q National Water Commission's 
report to the President and to Congress said, "when the 
reservation is located on lands aboriginally owned by the 
Indian tribe, their rights may even be said to have existed 
from time immemorial. "^^ This state sees itself as mandated 
by its own constitution to challenge directly those asser- 
tions. I believe that what is viewed here as a legal argu- 
ment is actually a cultural persuasion. 

The state still does not want to recognize the fact that 
since the Sporhase case in 1982, water has been ruled to be 

10. Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces (New York: Viking, Penquin, 
1985), p. 76. 

11. John D. Leshy, "Water and Wilderness/Law and Politics," Land and 
Water Law Review 23 (1988): 389-417. 

12. Carla J. Bennett, "Quantification of Indian Water Rights: Foresight 
or Folly?" journal of Environmental Law 8 (1989): 267-285. 

13. Ibid., p. 270. 



The state experimental 
farm near Torrington, 
ca. 1930. 

an article of commerce and thus subject to the authority 
of federal interstate commerce; this makes legal fiction out 
of state laws and constitutions such as Wyoming's which 
claim state ownership of all its waters. 

It very well may be that it is Wyoming's water system 
itself that bears re-examination. The old, familiar doctrine 
of "first come, first served" may no longer be useful. Prior 
appropriations law was first developed in response to a 
situation in which there was no law. Mining camps gave 
precedence to whomever staked out their claim first. ^^ 

Priority of claim does not imply efficient use nor even 
equitable use; it simply determines which farmers receive 
water and which ones do not. Equal needs have not been 
the legal consideration for water management in Wyoming. 
Appropriations doctrine is one of those guidepost ideas 
that define a culture. Its re-examination can also serve as 
a landmark in the evolution of our state's maturity. 

Historians need to give less acceptance to the presump- 
tion that it has been the logic of physical geography and 
not human urges that has dictated the evolution of western 
water law. Our culture created our water laws not the im- 
peratives of nature; neither environment nor aridity forced 

14. Donald J. Pisani, "Enterprise and Equity: A Critique ot Western Water 
Law in the Nineteenth Century," Wcstfr)i Hisltuitiil Qiiartfily 18 
(January 1987): 15-37. 

US to adopt a system that institutionalizes combat. And, 
when it becomes an ethnic face-off, it has immediate 

State government and even well-intentioned news- 
paper editorials have edged their rhetoric into the 
dangerous language of "quantification" of Indian water 
rights. 15 The governor finally mentioned the word in an 
intemperate open letter to the state while lashing out at 
a reporter who had the courage to chide the state engineer 
for not enforcing federal law.^^ 

Perhaps the governor is not aware that quantification 
is perceived as code language for what Indians today fear 
most— the loss of their reservation altogether, forced 
assimilation into non-Indian society and another and 
perhaps final diaspora. Indian people know that if they 
allow state quantification—state determination— of federal 
rights Indians will then be subjecting their water rights to 
ordinary state appropriation rules and to state jurisdic- 
tion.'^ joint authority over water can be seen as the first 

15. Editorial, "Try Joint Authority ior Wind River," Camper Sttir-Tribuiw, 
August 5, 1990, p. A6; "Sullivan, State Role Needed in Flow Issue," 
Casper Star-Tribune, August 1, 1990, p. Al. 

16. Mike Sullivan, "Melynkovych column went round the bend," Casper 
Star-Tribimc, August 3, 1990. 

17. Bennett, "Quantification of Indian Water Rights." 



FALL 1991 

step toward loss of authority over their land, loss of their 
sovereignty, and finally, loss of Indian identity. 

Water transfers— selling your water right separated 
from the land— and water marketing seem to be the mark 
of a new era; if there is no more new water to be 
engineered, then the opportunities of scarcity can be ex- 
ploited. Selling water rights so that somebody survives 
may well be a part of a new age solution to an age old prob- 
lem of dealing with a dry landscape. 

Throughout our history, nature has been used as an 
explanation and an excuse for human actions. We have 
blamed our great suicide rate on the ever present dry wind; 
the family violence and death rates are attributed to the 
lonely spaces and long distances; vaulting rates of teenage 
pregnancy, infant mortality, and alcoholism are due to the 
demands of an unforgiving, inhospitable landscape. Blam- 
ing the non-human world is too simplistic; in doing so we 

allow ourselves to trivialize nature's real impact on us as 

Wyoming has celebrated its past but has not acknowl- 
edged it. The rigid memory of a heroic innocence has 
served as a protective barrier to a cultural understanding. 
Wyoming never can be fully mature as a distinct place un- 
til we seriously face the romance of the past with which 
we still live. 

The collective memories that are Wyoming also hold 
racism, bloodshed, sexism, personal defeats, community 
bankruptcy, self-interest, and relentless boosterism. Our 
dismal social statistics reveal that repressed cultural 
memories activate themselves in undesirable ways. His- 
torians need to define better the actual limitations of nature 
as well as true human motivations in order to deal with 
the culture of this marginal land. 


Indian Water Rights and 
ttie Wind River Case 

by Michael A. Massie 

During the past century American Indians have over- 
come numerous obstacles in their struggle to survive in 
a changing world while retaining as many traditions and 
as much of their land as possible. While many problems 
persist on modern reservations, the Native Americans' suc- 
cesses have been remarkable, especially since they have 
been compelled to operate, for the most part, in a world 
of White-man's laws. 

Initially, the federal government assumed the role of 
guardian of the tribes' interests, promising to preserve their 
resources to further the goals of acculturation and economic 
self-sufficiency. However, Indians soon learned that the 
government served the desires of the White majority and 
watched as apparent legal and legislative victories bene- 
fitted only non-Indian interest groups. By taking a more 

active role in protecting their own interests, many Native 
Americans are now in a better position to identify and take 
advantage of their legal rights. 

The history of Indian water rights illustrates this point, 
particularly when comparing the results of a 1908 Supreme 
Court decision, which established the legal precedent for 
these rights, with the court's recent ruling concerning the 
Wind River. While the issue of Indian water rights is cer- 
tainly one of the least researched aspects of Wyoming's 
history, the ramifications of the "Wind River" decision 
may influence the future of the state more than any event 
that has occurred during the centennial year. 

The court case that transpired earlier in this century 
involved two tribes and the state of Montana.^ Soon after 
the formation of the Fort Belknap Reservation in north- 



central Montana in 1873, the resident Gros Ventres and 
Assiniboines experienced the consequences of that era's 
American Indian policy. Demonstrating a lack of under- 
standing of the area's arid environment, government of- 
ficials insisted that the tribes forsake their previous 
lifestyles, centered around the pursuit of the bison, and 
farm small tracts of land. Most of the reservation's agents 
thought that agriculture would teach the Indians "civil- 
ized" values and fuel the acculturative process. This belief 
later formed the foundation of the 1887 General Allotment 
Act. During the following year, an executive agreement 
with the Fort Belknap tribes stipulated that the Indians 
would receive farming equipment in exchange for relin- 
quishing title to some of their land. 

Many factors hampered the agents' efforts in con- 
verting the Gros Ventres and Assiniboines into farmers, 
including the desire of many of the men to raise stock 
rather than till the soil. Whether farming or ranching, 
agricultural operations suffered consistently due to the dry 
environment. Seeking to correct this problem, the agents 
convinced Congress to appropriate twenty thousand dol- 
lars biannually to Fort Belknap for the construction of an 
irrigation system. Four watering projects were initiated by 
1903, with the hope that farming and stock raising would 
benefit from irrigation and thus stabilize the tribes' 

However, a shift in American Indian policy around the 
turn-of-the-century undermined the tribes' ability to profit 
from this development. Some of the country's influential 
politicians, scientists, and anthropologists were disap- 
pointed that American Indians had not made as much 
progress as had been anticipated toward acculturation dur- 
ing the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Fail- 
ing to recognize the cultural biases and false premises that 
formed the foundation of this philosophy, most of the "ex- 
perts" insisted that it would take decades for the Indians 
to learn the tools of civilization. At the same time, leaders 
in Western states and territories lobbied the federal govern- 
ment to remove the reservation lands that the tribes were 
not farming and make these tracts available to non-Indian 
settlers. 2 

1. This paper's account related to the Fort Belknap Reservation and the 
Winters decision is a summary of the information contained in the 
author's previous article, "The Cultural Roots of Indian Water Rights," 
Annals of Wyoming 59 (Spring 1987): 15-28. 

2. For a detailed account of this era in American Indian policy, refer to 
Frederick Hoxie's, A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the In- 
dians, 1880-1920 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984). 

To meet the Westerners' demands and to reflect the 
growing pessimism of the Indians' ability to acculturate, 
political leaders and reservation agents urged non-Indians 
to lease, or purchase in some cases, tribal lands and 
resources. The desired results of this policy were to 
enhance the western economy while maintaining the goal 
of acculturation. Ideally, Whites exploiting tribal resources 
would now serve as examples of the benefits of "civiliza- 
tion" for their Indian laborers. 

By the mid- 1900s the Fort Belknap agents leased large 
tracts of the reservation lands to non-Indian grazers and 
sugar beet growers and actively sought corporations to 
build a sugar refinery. Of course, the attractiveness of these 
leases depended upon irrigation. When the Milk River, 
which forms the reservation's northern boundary, dried 
up in 1905, the hopes of Indians and Whites on the Fort 
Belknap Reservation were suddenly dashed. 

Lured by the nation's homestead laws which prom- 
ised cheap land, ranchers had settled along the Milk River 
above the reservation throughout the 1890s. Like the reser- 
vation's residents, the newcomers depended upon the 
river to irrigate crops and hay meadows. Due to a few years 
of drought, the river's flow dwindled until these ranchers' 
diversions prevented any water from reaching the reser- 
vation. Insisting that the state possessed the right to regu- 
late water use within its boundary, Montana refused to rec- 
ognize the tribes' water rights and condoned the situation. 

Faced with the destruction of the reservation's econ- 
omy, agent Logan requested that the Justice Department 
sue the ranchers to force them to allow water to flow to 
the reservation. The department complied and after years 
of litigation and appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered 
its decision in 1908. 

Winters v. Uniied States proved historically significant 
for two reasons. First, the justices set the precedent for In- 
dian water rights by determining that the Gros Ventres and 
the Assiniboines had preserved their water rights in the 
1888 Executive Agreement. Even though this right was not 
specifically written in the accord, the United States and 
the tribes "implied" that adequate water must accompany 
the grounds that formed the reservation or the land would 
be worthless and uninhabitable. Since the tribes possessed 
the earliest (senior) water rights to the Milk River, their 
needs must be met before those of the other diverters of 
the river. 

The judges further ruled that the Native Americans 
could utilize this water for beneficial purposes, primarily 
for agriculture at this time, and the amount of water that 
the tribes could divert may increase in the future to account 



FALL 1991 

for the expansion of the reservation's population. This 
"future use" clause distinguishes Indian water rights from 
those acquired under the laws of prior appropriation which 
most Western states recognize. 

The judges' decision not only established the prece- 
dent for the Indian's rights to water, but it raised several 
questions which continue to plague this issue. How would 
the Indians' right be quantified? Could non-agricultural use 
of the water be considered "beneficial?" Since the Fort 
Belknap Reservation was formed by executive order, does 
the Winters decision apply to Indian reserves created by 
treaty or a legislative act? Must the water be of a certain 
quality? Can the Indians sell or lease their rights? Does the 
reserved quantity include groundwater or just surface water? 
During the past eighty years, courts have addressed some of 
these questions but have failed to provide precise answers. 

What occurred on the Fort Belknap Reservation in the 
decades that followed the Winters decision is just as signifi- 
cant as this judicial case. Given the United States' Indian 
policy of the era, the court's verdict benefitted the Whites 
more than the Gros Ventres and the Assiniboines, for the 
reservation's agents used the guarantee of water rights to 
lure more non-Indian lessees onto the tribes' lands. By 1925 
non-Indians controlled 58 percent of the reservation's 
irrigated land, paralleling the loss of other tribal resources, 
particularly coal and timber. Water was even funneled off 
the reservation to neighboring landowners and corpora- 
tions. Because the Indians exerted little control over the 
reservation's resources, land, and laws, they were not in 
the position to take advantage of the rights defined in the 
Winters decision. 

This was unfortunate, for the federal government not 
only failed to protect the Indians' water claims at Fort 
Belknap, but it has been one of the biggest violators of In- 
dian water rights during the past eighty years. During this 
time, non-Indian politicians and administrators have 
generally been the decision-makers in the Bureau of In- 
dian Affairs, which is part of the much larger Department 
of Interior that manages much of the Western public lands. 
Consequently, it is not surprising that federal water policies 
through the past century have overwhelmingly favored 
large, publicly-funded water development projects that 
have served western cities and non-Indian interests at the 
expense of the tribes' water rights. 

Listing all of the federal court decisions and gov- 
ernment-financed projects that have preempted Indian 
water rights is well beyond the scope of this brief paper. 
The Bureau of Reclamation has perhaps been the most fre- 
quent violator of the Native Americans' "Winters" rights. 

Its dams have created flooding and water quality problems 
on reservations, and the agency has sold the tribes' water 
to non-Indian ranchers, farmers, power plants, and cities. 
As Senator Kennedy quipped: "Reclamation might just as 
well be the cavalry all over again. "^ 

The history of the Wind River Reservation reflects the 
federal government's abuses of Indian water rights. In 
signing the 1905 Land Cession, the United States prom- 
ised the Arapaho and the Shoshone tribes that the pro- 
ceeds from the sale of the ceded land would be used to 
acquire water rights and build an irrigation system for the 
reservation. Due to the inabilities of the local White-owned 
irrigation company and the less-than-expected response 
from the settlers in purchasing homestead tracts around 
Riverton, the promised ditches were never completed. Fur- 
thermore, Arapaho landowners were assessed fees whether 
or not they used the irrigation ditches that were built. 
When they could not pay the bills, they were compelled 
to sell or lease their land. Forced to seek employment with 
the government, many of them subsequently worked on 
the very ditches that precipitated their predicament, and 
several never received the wages that they were promised.'* 

In the 1930s the Bureau of Reclamation built the Mid- 
vale Irrigation Project, diverting much of the Wind River 
just before it enters the reservation and funneling it to 
nearby non-Indian farmers and ranchers. As the 1989 
Supreme Court decision confirmed, much of this water 
belonged to the Indians. 

The bureau appeared in the 1960s with another plan 
to encourage the development of non-Indian resources by 
using tribal water. In order to spur the development of coal 
in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, the 
agency advocated diverting water from several nearby 
reservoirs, including the one at Boy sen. Since much of the 
water in Boysen Reservoir belonged to the Shoshones and 
Arapahoes, this scheme would have robbed the tribes of 
their ability to develop the reservation's economy. This 
project was eventually scrapped, primarily due to the pro- 
tests from conservationists over the environmental costs 
of the undertaking, not because of any concern over the 
illegal use of the Indians' water. ^ 

By the 1970s Indians throughout the country were in 
a better position to begin reversing decades of lost water 

3. Marjane Ambler, Breaking the Iron Bonds: Indian Control of Energy Deivlop- 
ment (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1990), p. 215. 

4. Loretta Fowler, Arapahoe Pohtics, 1851-1978: Symbols in Crises of Authority 
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982), p. 130. 

5. Ambler, Breaking the Iron Bonds, p. 208. 



rights. In addition to winning some key court decisions 
that confirmed treaty rights, some tribes had formed 
organizations, such as the Native American Rights Fund 
(NARF), that provided important legal assistance. Now, 
many Native Americans aggressively pursued protection 
of their resources rather than depend upon White ad- 
ministrators and politicians to safeguard tribal claims. 
While NARF won several legal battles, federal courts in- 
dicated that Indian water rights possessed some limits and 
urged the tribes to attempt to settle their differences over 
water issues with Western states through negotiation or 
initially in the state court system.^ 

Using federal funds offered by the Carter administra- 
tion, the Wind River Reservation tribes conducted a study 
to determine the history, quantity, and extent of their water 
rights. After negotiations failed, Wyoming and the tribes 
embarked upon a series of legal battles in 1975 that 
culminated in the Supreme Court decision in 1989. 

Generally confirming the findings of the "Winters" 
court, the justices determined that the Shoshones' and the 
Arapahoes' water priority dated to the establishment of the 
reservation in 1868 and awarded the tribes approximately 
five hundred thousand acre feet, or a little less than one- 
half of the flow of the Wind River and its tributaries that 
rise on Indian lands. Like their predecessors at the turn- 
of-the-century, the 1989 court did not specify for what pur- 
poses the water could be employed or whether the Indians 
could sell or lease their claims. Nevertheless, the Supreme 
Court confirmed the tribes' rights to water that some non- 
Indians had been using for generations. 

Even though the rulings in these cases were similar, 
the results will be quite different. While the Fort Belknap 
Indians failed to benefit from the "Winters" decision at 
that time, today's Shoshones and Arapahoes have more 
control over their resources than their counterparts of 
eighty years ago. They have the ability, knowledge, and 
probably the clout to make this court decision stick in order 
to use their water as they wish. Within the last year they 
have utilized their rights to restock fisheries, to maintain 
a minimum stream flow, and to lease some of the resource 
to the state for local non-Indian landowners. While the 
court's decision and the tribes' use of the water continue 
to generate controversy, the tribes appear to have the 
power to determine how approximately one-half of the 
Wind River will be utilized. 

The "Wind River" decision has already exerted a sig- 
nificant influence in the West. Wanting to avoid the long, 
expensive court battle that Wyoming experienced, Col- 
orado recently reached an agreement with the Southern 
Utes and the Mountain Utes on water rights, and Idaho 
has struck a similar accord with the Fort Hall Shoshones. 
For now, many Western tribes are asserting their "Win- 
ters" rights, becoming a major player in determining water 
ownership and use in the arid West.^ 

For several decades, the study of Indian water rights 
was primarily undertaken by lawyers and legal experts. 
While their works have identified important questions and 
provided a great deal of research concerning this issue, the 
resulting articles often lacked historical perspective and 
context. Now, historians, anthropologists, and other pro- 
fessionals are beginning to examine Indian water rights in 
relationship to tribal histories, federal Indian policies, and 
other Native American resource topics. Works particularly 
worth noting are Daniel McCool's Command of the Waters: 
Iron Triangles, Federal Water Development, and Indian Water; 
Marjane Ambler's Breaking the Iron Bonds: Indian Control of 
Energy Development; Loretta Fowler's Arapahoe Politics, 
1851-1978: Symbols in Crises of Authority; and Donald 
Worster's Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Groivth 
of the American West. Of course, a brief bibliography of water 
rights would not be complete without noting the many 
significant contributions of Norris Hundley, Jr., specifically 
his article, "The Winters Decision and Indian Water Rights: 
A Mystery Reexamined," in Peter Iverson's edited book. 
The Plains Indians of the Twentieth Century.^ 

As western inhabitants have known for centuries, 
water plays a determining role in the evolution of this arid 
region. Due in part to the "Winters" and "Wind River" 
decisions, the American Indians have become influential 
players in the future course of the West. Hopefully, the 
adaptability that the Indians have demonstrated in ad- 
justing to changes during the past century will characterize 
the future decisions that Western inhabitants will make 
toward the use of the region's most precious resource. 

6. Mary Wallace, "The Supreme Court and Indian Water Rights," in 
American Indian Policy in the Tivcntieth Ccntun/, ed. Vine Deloria, )r. 
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), pp. 197-220. 

7. Rocky Mountain News, March 27, 1990, p. 43. 

8. Fowler's and Ambler's works have been previously cited; Daniel 
McCool, Conunand of tlic Waters: Iron Triangles, Federal Water Develop- 
ment, and Indian Water (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987); 
Donald Worster, Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Groivth of the 
American West (New York: Pantheon Press, 1985); Norris Hundley, Jr., 
"The Winters Doctrine and Indian Water Rights: A Mystery Reex- 
amined," in The Plains Indians of the Twentieth Century, ed. Peter Iver- 
son (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), pp. 77-106. 



by Robert W. RIghter 

Recently historian Donald Worster wrote that "en- 
vironmental history deals with the role and place of nature 
in human life. It studies all the interactions that societies 
in the past have had with the nonhuman world, the world 
we have not in any primary sense created." I find that last 
phrase particularly significant: "the world we have not in 
any primary sense created." That takes in the lion's share 
of Wyoming. We should not ignore it. 

The state of Wyoming has a rich history of conserva- 
tion. Much of it, however, remains to be written. When 
reflecting on the environment and conservation we may 
all consider special places and notable events. Wyoming 
is a state where the hand of man has touched lightly, and 
a whole world which he did not create is always evident. 
There are, however, some definable Wyoming "firsts" 
which we may credit to people acting in a positive, preser- 
vationist way. In 1872 Congress established the first 
national park— in Wyoming. Some twenty years later Presi- 
dent Benjamin Harrison proclaimed the nation's first forest 
reserve— in Wyoming. Then in 1906 that stalwart conser- 
vationist. President Theodore Roosevelt, signed an ex- 
ecutive order creating Devils Tower as the nation's first 
national monument. These "firsts," however, are only the 
most obvious of a multitude of events and processes which 
attract the environmental historian. 

My own research centers on Grand Teton National 
Park, a park which celebrates some of nature's most spec- 
tacular mountain scenery. Man, of course, had nothing to 
do with its creation, but he has had much to do with its 
preservation. Therein lies the controversy which continues 
in various forms to this day. The Grand Teton National 

Park story proved a wonderful opportunity to examine a 
local issue of national importance. Although David Saylor's 
book, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, had covered the park con- 
troversy, much remained to be said. It proved a fascinating 
topic because it lasted for an excruciatingly long thirty-five 
year period. But the struggle over northern Jackson Hole 
importance does not reside in its length so much as the 
central issues which were raised. It underscored such 
themes as national purpose versus local and state concerns. 
Eastern wealth pitted against the struggling homesteader 
and rancher, and the whole broad issue of states rights and 
the public lands. From the perspective of environmental 
history the park fight raised concerns regarding space, 
solitude, wildlife, water development, and utilitarian con- 
servation versus preservation— all issues still evident today. 
Since the publication of Crucible for Consewation in 1982, 
I have thought often about the weaknesses of the book. 
I suppose no one knows the shortcoming of a work better 
than the author. If I was to do it over, more time would 
be spent with state sources, especially the Wyoming State 
Archives. I should have dug into the records of the gover- 
nors involved and sifted through the various state agen- 
cies' records: records which would have provided a very 
different perspective than those of the federal agencies. 
Furthermore, more interviews would have enhanced the 
book, especially with persons with a special relationship 
to Jackson Hole. Quite frankly, I am not a great believer 
in reliance on oral history. The memory is a faulty faculty. 
Yet interviews with more Wyomingites would have surely 
provided spice to the narrative and perhaps meaningful 
environmental observations. 



The strength of the research is in the use of federal 
documents found in the National Archives in Yellowstone, 
Denver, and particularly in Washington, D.C. I mention 
that fact because some Wyoming historians feel that they 
can get the story without a trek to Washington. Perhaps 
in some fields, but surely not in environmental history. 
As we know, title to some 47 percent of Wyoming land 
resides with the federal government. Approximately 75 
percent of mineral rights are reserved to the federal govern- 
ment. Whether we investigate records of water, wildlife, 
soil conservation, air quality, ranching, mining, or timber, 
the federal government is involved. Furthermore, most 
federal agencies have left a reasonably good "paper trail" 
of its activities and decisions. Since my work on Grand 
Teton National Park, I have returned to the National Ar- 
chives at least three times. The wealth of material available 
to the Wyoming researcher is impressive. 

Since the publication of Crucible, my work in national 
park history has diminished. One spin off from the book 
was an article in the Western Historical Quarterly (August 
1989) titled "National Monuments to National Parks: The 
Use of the Antiquities Act of 1906," which presented the 
thesis that presidents often created a national monument 
when Congress proved unwilling to create a national park. 
The creation of Jackson Hole National Monument by Presi- 
dent Roosevelt proved the best example, but the "monu- 
ment to park" political process occurred in Grand Canyon, 
Zion, Bryce, Olympic, and other prominent national parks. 

I should also mention that just this past summer I 
edited a volume titled A Teton Country Anthology. The an- 
thology features early writings about Jackson Hole and the 
Teton Range which 1 found particularly enjoyable or signifi- 
cant. The book is intended as an appreciation of that very 
beautiful corner of Wyoming. 

Other environmental research touches on Wyoming. 
For far too long now I have been working on a history of 
wind energy in America: Not the water pumpers that dot 
the Wyoming landscape, but rather the electrical gen- 
erating types. Ranchers called them "wind chargers" and 
their use was quite widespread before rural electrification. 
One result of that work was an article published in the An- 
nals of Wyoming titled "The Wind at Work in Wyoming." 
However, thus far neither the article nor the subject has 
excited much interest. However, they should. In the past 
we humans used natural, renewable sources of energy 
such as wood, water, and wind for our needs. Even the 
ubiquitous, infamous "buffalo chip" provided heat. No 
one would dare suggest that our energy crisis will become 
so desperate that Wyoming people will be gathering cow 

chips in the next century, but it is likely that we will resort 
to historic energy sources. Resources that are considered 
valueless today will bolster the economy tomorrow. After 
all, who in the nineteenth century could foretell the value 
of uranium ore in the twentieth? One day the Wyoming 
wind will become a valuable energy resource. The demise 
of the large wind turbines at Medicine Bow should not be 
considered the final word. The next one hundred years will 
see Wyoming continue as an energy state, by developing 
our abundant resources in sun and wind, rather than oil 
and uranium. The pre-petroleum age was not far in the 
past, and the post-petroleum age is fast approaching. 

One other project is related to environmental history 
and Wyoming. Some years ago a student of mine named 
Sandy Oliver did an excellent Master of Arts thesis on Fer- 
dinand Vandiveer Hayden in Wyoming. Many of you will 
recall that it was the 1871 Hayden Survey which conducted 
the first scientific assessment of the Yellowstone region. 
Furthermore, Hayden is given considerable credit in the 
successful campaign to create Yellowstone National Park 
the following year. Sandy intended to write a full biog- 
raphy on Hayden for the Ph.D. dissertation, but that never 
happened. I was disappointed. A couple of years ago the 
University of Oklahoma Press called for proposals for a 
new biography series. 1 proposed Hayden. To make a long 
story short, this interest resulted in a contract to do a 
biography of this rather enigmatic man who was so cen- 
tral to the scientific exploration of the Rocky Mountain 
region. I look forward to the challenge and I expect that 
I will call on many of you for assistance within the next 
few years. 

I have talked far too much about my own interests and 
work. Let me now make a few observations regarding the 
opportunity for environmental history on Wyoming. 

First, historians should look more closely at agencies 
which serve as stewards to that extensive part of the state 
that humans did not create. There are the federal agen- 
cies which day to day wrestle with issues of land, air, and 
water. How much do we know of the Soil Conservation 
Service, the old Grazing Service, the Bureau of Reclama- 
tion, or the Fish and Wildlife Service, all federal agencies 
which are dedicated to conservation practices in the daily 
application of their charge. Many of the records of such 
agencies are routine, but there are gems among the rough 
stones which the environmental historian can polish with 

There are also important state agencies that deserve 
our attention. The Wyoming State Game & Fish Commis- 
sion comes to mind. From my somewhat uninformed \'ie\v 



FALL 1991 

Elk herd near the Grand 

the commission has an admirable conservation record. 
What other state can boast as many antelope as people? 
Something must have happened because we know that at 
the turn-of-the-century the antelope was scarce indeed. 
Some work has been done on the commission, but there 
is still ample opportunity for new assessments of this in- 
fluential agency. 

Another state agency particularly deserving of study 
is the Wyoming Land Board, the administrative agency of 
many thousand acres of Wyoming land. Generally the 
western centennial states received sections 16 and 36 of 
each township when they entered the union one hundred 
years ago. Many of our neighboring western states sold 
off their land for a pittance, but Wyoming retained most 
all of this land largesse. Today the land board manages this 
property and its decisions regarding environmental ques- 
tions are most worthy of examination and interpretation. 
Just this past year the board has struggled with the ques- 
tion of whether to sell off a section of land near Jackson 
known as Boyle's Hill.^ In the debate central questions of 

1. The Boyle's Hill section has been auctioned off and is now in private 

growth, of land values, of wildlife habitat, and the whole 
question of the future direction of the state have been ad- 
dressed. These little microcosms of environmental debate 
offer the historian unique opportunities to interpret the 
past and the present. 

One could enumerate many other Wyoming arenas 
open to the field of environmental history. Most all of the 
past activities related to land, air, water, and natural 
resources can be examined. Most Wyoming historical 
writing, after all, has been about people, not the environ- 
ment. It has been largely the story of men and women, 
their struggles, failures, and successes, with the physical 
environment merely serving as a back drop. 

The new field of environmental history does not in- 
sist that nature take center stage, but it does seek to 
acknowledge the importance of nature in the world of man. 
It seeks to gain "equal time" for our physical environment. 
Thus far the state has had no James Malin, an historian 
who many years ago concentrated his interest on grass- 
lands and ecological change in Nebraska. With the excep- 
tion of a cultural geographer or two, no one has chosen 
to put the land and resources on center stage. I am not 



suggesting that we must all return to the university for 
education in botany, geology, or zoology. However, I am 
suggesting that future writing in Wyoming history must 
reflect the interaction of man and nature. We should look 
closely at the manipulation of natural resources by man. 
We should contemplate and interpret the quotation on the 
Engineering Building at the university. "Strive On! The 
Control of Nature is Won, not Given." Is our relationship 
with nature to be competitive or cooperative? 

We should also contemplate one of my favorite say- 
ings: "Nature has blessed Wyoming here and there, but 
not everywhere." Does nature bestow its blessings 
unevenly, or is the judgment one of human perception? 
Also, I suggest that we might substitute "human action" 
for "nature," thus reading "Human action has blessed 
Wyoming here and there, but not everywhere." Within 
that phrase is a theme for a new approach to the Wyoming 
past. It is particularly significant because in another hun- 
dred years— when the state is celebrating the bicen- 
tennial—historians will like measure our generation's suc- 
cess by its ability to preserve rather than exploit. 

Certainly in recent years Wyoming history is being 
written with more attention to the environment. Partly this 
is a response to public interest and concern, and partly it 
is a result of legislation. The National Environmental Pro- 
tection Act (NEPA) 1970, mandated Environmental Impact 
Statements (EIS) on federal projects. Broadly interpreted, 
most projects and construction activities in Wyoming fell 
under that category. One portion of the EIS has been 
"Cultural Resources," which allowed some hungry his- 
torians to find employment. Equally significant, these 
historians became more aware of the activities of the 
botanist, the anthropologist, and the geologist. History 
became just a little more multi-dimensional. 

Another fascinating activity has been the rephotog- 
raphy projects evident in Wyoming and elsewhere. His- 
torians examine the work of early photographers within 
the state, such as William Henry Jackson, and then do their 
best to rephotograph the scene today. Not only do such 

projects reexamine the built environment created by our 
forefathers, but they visually track the environmental 
change (or environmental stability) in the natural areas of 
the state. 

I must admit that the EIS' I have used have not always 
been written in the most tantalizing fashion. However, en- 
vironmental history can be interesting, and surely it is 
significant. Environmental questions will not disappear, 
and therefore, historians have some obligation to examine 
the roots of such issues. For instance, consider the 
Yellowstone National Park wolf reintroduction contro- 
versy. At present there is no history of the relationship of 
the wolf and man in Wyoming. Of course we know that 
our predecessors exterminated the wolf between 1890 and 
1930, but why? Did it have to do with overpopulation of 
the species? Was it because of excessive killing of livestock? 
Was it simply that Wyoming man possessed the tech- 
nology to impose his idea of order on the land? Or was 
it that more intangible, mental encounter in which man's 
perceptions, ideologies, ethics, laws, and myths dominated 
the dialogue with nature and the fate of the wolf? As politi- 
cians and interest groups struggle with the wolf reintroduc- 
tion issue, the environmental historian cannot provide 
answers, but he or she can provide perspective. 

In closing, let me reiterate that there is much work to 
be done in environmental history. Wyoming people had 
nothing to do with the natural beauty created within the 
state, but it does fall on them to understand and protect 
this beauty. To return to Donald Worster's phrase, en- 
vironmental history studies the interactions that human 
societies "have had with the nonhuman world, the world 
we have not in any primary sense created." We certainly 
cannot ignore that world in Wyoming, so let us incorporate 
it. Certainly our function as historians is to study man's 
past activities, but in so doing let us consider sharing the 
stage with nature. An increased knowledge of the interac- 
tions of our forefathers and the natural world they en- 
countered can only enhance our understanding and our 
ability to deal wisely with current and future issues. 



by Rheba Massey 

"The United States ought to build a barbed wire fence 
around the whole state of Wyoming. Declare it a national 
treasure and allow only five hundred thousand visitors a 
year . . . Declare it a national park and treat it as such.''^ 
These statements are from the book Centennial, and James 
Michener reiterated these acclamations in his June, 1990, 
Centennial discussion at the Wyoming State Capitol. What 
is this "national treasure" that should be declared a 
"national park" and treated as such? 

First, as a historic preservation professional, I believe 
a significant part of this "treasure" is our heritage reflected 
by the buildings, structures, objects, and sites still present 
in Wyoming. Wyoming's heritage consists of several cate- 
gories of sites and buildings, but I believe the most signifi- 
cant architectural resource which reflects "our distinctive 
western character" is vernacular architecture. Second, I in- 
terpret Michener's message as a challenge to see effective 
ways to preserve the historic buildings that reflect our 
history. Therefore to provide for future historic preserva- 
tion needs in Wyoming, information and attitudes about 
Wyoming's vernacular architecture need to be explored. 

The first step is for Wyoming historians and other pro- 
fessionals to define Wyoming's vernacular architecture. 
Co77ir7wn Places: Readings in American Vernacular Architecture, 
edited by Dell Upton and John Michael Vlach, provide the 
following explanations of vernacular architecture in their 
introduction. Vernacular is "fundamentally a humanistic 
study" that involves the linkage of several disciplines: the 
historian, the architectural historian, the folklorist, the an- 
thropologist, the geographer, and other colleagues who are 
concerned with the remains of our vernacular past and the 
people who created them. "It is the architecture that 

1. James A. Michener, Centennial (New York: Random House, Inc. 
1974), p. 901. 

groups of people make or have made for their daily use."^ 
Upton and Vlach suggest there are four categories to con- 
sider in determining vernacular architecture: "Construc- 
tion; Function; Fiistory; and Design and Intention." 
Wyoming professionals need to explore this and other 
definitions as they pertain to Wyoming's architecture and 
include this topic within our academic history discussions. 

Once we have come to some consensus on our defini- 
tion, we need to discuss philosophically whether Wyo- 
ming's architecture is truly a part of that "national 
treasure" which Michener alludes to in his book Centen- 
nial. Since Wyoming does not have numerous examples 
of "high style" architecture which reflect basic architec- 
tural categories such as Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, or 
Queen Anne, can we say that vernacular architecture is 
the most important historic architectural resource we have 
that embodies our "distinctive western character?" Most 
recently, due to Grand Teton National Park's plan to 
demolish or move many of its homesteads and dude 
ranches, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has 
recognized vernacular architecture as our most threatened 
resource. Many professionals and Wyoming residents do 
not recognize vernacular architecture's aesthetic contribu- 
tion to our magnificent cultural landscapes. Do we not 
need to devote serious consideration and study to develop- 
ing effective historic research methodologies for this part 
of history, and protect it as a reflection of our ethnicity and 

I recently toured Holland and investigated their 
national historic preservation program. Holland has deter- 
mined that all buildings built before 1850 are historically sig- 
nificant and should be protected. Seeing the results of this 

2. Dell Upton and John Michael Vlach, eds.. Common Places: Readings in 
American Vernacular Architecture (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 
1986), p. xvi. 



"blanket determination" caused me to daydream about 
this possibility in Wyoming. What if Wyoming determined 
that all buildings built in Wyoming's early settlement 
period (before 1900) were historically significant and should 
be protected? What if Wyoming's historians began to 
gather primary source information about the vernacular 
resources associated with their area of expertise, such as 
ranching and mining, so we could proceed to describe the 
types of vernacular architecture present in the state? I 
believe if we as professionals made this a goal, the 
"treasure" we have would soon become apparent to 
Wyoming residents and encourage the development of 
Wyoming's "heritage tourism." 

To accomplish this goal we would need to explore the 
types of primary and secondary source information accessi- 
ble for documenting the "Construction; Function; History; 
and Design and Intention" of vernacular architecture. 
Secondary sources such as state or general histories are 
usually written in a chronological order based on events 
concerning the economic and political development of the 
state. The people involved in these events are frequently 
mentioned, but the lives of these people and the structures 
associated with the people and events are not often re- 
vealed. Local histories record the memories of local 
residents that sometimes reflect important events or more 
often their memories of how they lived within a certain 
era. Sometimes these local histories mention structures 
associated with the local residents. All of this is vital in- 
formation, but in terms of historical research for writing 
historic contexts or determining the historical or architec- 
tural importance of buildings, structures, objects, or sites, 
the information is insufficient. 

The professional historians in the State Historic Preser- 
vation Office find the National Register of Historic Places' 
nomination forms to be our first and most important secon- 
dary source of information. Historic contexts have been 
developed for these properties which include photographs 
and vital information on the architecture of the structures. 
Since most of our architecture within the state is ver- 
nacular, the architecture of these properties has usually 
been evaluated within the context of historic themes- 
mining, ranching, and so forth. 

Wyoming's Certified Local Governments have per- 
formed surveys of buildings and sites representing the 
historic themes of ranching, education, and community 
development. The survey forms for these buildings are in 
the SHPO and the communities' planning offices and 
libraries. They provide an excellent beginning point for 
researching vernacular architecture. The historic contexts 

for these surveys actually become a local history. Four re- 
cent surveys of Sublette County's ranches and schools 
have been incorporated into a book and is now available 
for purchase. Local histories still remain an important 
secondary source for historic preservation research. 
Cultural resource professionals have often wished there 
were more local histories of Wyoming's communities. 

Our office also uses the cultural resource survey reports 
and historic site forms which are available at our Cultural 
Resource Records Office, University of Wyoming, Laramie. 
This information is based on project specific surveys per- 
formed to meet Section 106 requirements of the National 
Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (amended 1980). These 
surveys are performed by professional historians and ar- 
chaeologists to determine significant historic resources and 
types of impacts to resources within a defined project area. 
However, these valuable survey reports, which include 
well developed historic contexts and overviews, are filed 
by project number and therefore are difficult to use for 
general historic research. A bibliography of these reports 
and a synthesis of this information is crucial in determin- 
ing the significance of the vernacular architecture in 

The National Register nominations and all of our sur- 
vey forms need to be reviewed and organized according 
to historic contexts, specific property types, and time 
periods to determine the number of surviving examples. 
For example, what types of architecture represent mining 
within the state and are these types different within regions 
or communities or Wyoming or the United States? Much 
data has already been collected; more than forty thousand 
historic sites are documented in our cultural resource in- 
ventory. One of the main purposes of the Wyoming Com- 
prehensive Historic Preservation Plan is to organize this data 
for future research. However, this will take the invested 
time of professionals and graduate students in history. 
Currently, the SHPO is trying to address this issue by 
recording every site according to its historic theme, time 
period, and geographic area. Therefore, in the future it will 
be easier to run an inventory sheet, for example, of all the 
ranching sites in Wyoming and have the site forms pulled 
for comparative analysis. This, however, will require the 
addition of more SHPO staff to fulfill these types of re- 
quests. Hopefully, historians will also recognize this as a 
"gold mine" for a public history project. 

In addition to the information generated by the SHPO, 
primary source information for vernacular architecture is 
found in the local library, museum, or collections of 
historical societies. The local resource offices of federal 



FALL 1991 

A Rock Springs "Sliotgii}i House, " an example of iiiiniiig architectun 

agencies, such as the Forest Service or Bureau of Land 
Management, have important records and maps concern- 
ing local history and land use development. The informa- 
tion usually consists of old photographs, Sanborn Insur- 
ance Maps, oral interviews, topographical maps, GLO 
plats, newspapers, and information derived by site inspec- 
tions of the structures and their historic artifacts. In- 
formation concerning the craftsmen who constructed build- 
ings, ethnic building patterns, plans used for construction, 
or the buildings' function in the cultural landscape of the 
community is not readily available. Due to lack of funds 
and staff, much of this information in libraries, museums, 
and federal agencies has not been archivally organized for 
easy access. The cultural resource specialists for the Forest 
Service, Bureau of Land Management, and F.E. Warren 
Air Force Base have identified this as a critical need. Those 
resource areas of the federal agencies which have at- 
tempted to organize their historic information have dif- 
ferent methods for managing and accessing historical in- 
formation. Consistent methods need to be devised by Wyo- 

ming historians to aid the federal agencies in managing 
their historic records. We also need to define the types of 
information used in research for historic architecture, and 
inform local libraries, museums, and federal agencies of 
our needs. 

In conclusion, research in the field of Wyoming historic 
preservation has been approached by only a few historians. 
There is a "crying need" for Wyoming historians to par- 
ticipate in this field. Significant historic sites are being 
evaluated by archaeologists who have not been trained in 
the methods of historical research. Determinations of 
eligibility often are based only on a site inspection. Most 
of us in the State Historic Preservation Office have not been 
able to address methodology or synthesize data due to per- 
sistent time deadlines associated with the bureaucratic 
historic preservation process. A book on Wyoming's ar- 
chitecture, now being written by the SHPO architectural 
historian, Eileen Starr, will be a major time contribution 
by our office to this research. Hopefully, in the future, more 
academic historians will join us in this fascinating pursuit. 



COLIN G. CALLOWAY is an Associate Professor of History at 
the University of Wyoming. A British citizen, he has taught in 
England and Neiv England, and worked at the Newberry Library 
before coming to Wyoming. His publications include: Crown and 
Calumet: British-Indian Relations, 1783-1815; New Direc- 
tions in American Indian History, editor; The Western 
Abenakis of Vermont, 1600-1800; and Dawnland En- 
counters: Indians and Europeans in Northern New 
England. He is currently zvorking on a study of American In- 
dians during the American Revolution. 

A. DUDLEY GARDNER is an instructor ofhiston/ and govern- 
ment at Western Wyoming College, Rock Springs. He did his 
undergraduate work at Lee College in Cleveland, Tennessee, and 
received his M.A. in History from Colorado State University. 
Gardner has published two books while at WWC. The first. 
Forgotten Frontier: A History of Wyoming Coal Mining was 
co-authored by Verla R. Flores. The second was An American 
Place: Rock Springs Then and Now. He has devoted much 
of his time in southwestern Wyoming conducting oral histories 
with local residents, focusing especially on the memories of the 
early coal miner. 

CARL V. HALLBERG is an historian with the Wyoming State 
Archives. He has an M.A. degree in History and Archival 
Management from Colorado State University and a B.A. in 
History from Augustana College, Illinois. He has been publish- 
ed previously in Annals of Wyoming. 

DON HODGSON, a native of southeastern Wyoming, received 
his undergraduate and graduate training at the University of 
Wyoming. He is an instructor of History and Political Science 
at Eastern Wyoming College, Torrington. He contributed an ar- 
ticle to the book. Peopling the High Plains, and has studied 
extensively the Depression years in eastern Wyoming. 

KATHERINE JENSEN grew up on a ranch in western South 
Dakota and maintains an interest in the operation. She directed 
the Wo7nen's Studies Program at the University of Wyoming and 
is just completing a three-year term as Associate Dean in the Col- 
lege of Arts and Sciences. She continues her work on women and 
Third World development, but is currently on a research leave 
to work with her husband, Audie Blevins, on a study of the im- 
pact of gambling on mining communities in the Rocky Moun- 
tain West. 

ROY A. JORDAN has co-authored a textbook. Discovering 
Wyoming, 1989; published Wyoming: Centennial 
Bibliography (1988); "Wyoming's History and its Common 
Culture" in Centennial West, Montana Historical Society, 
1989; "Myth and the American West," in American 
Renaissance and American West (1982); "The Politics of a 
Cowboy Culture," and "Wyoming: A Neio Centennial Reflec- 

tion," in Annals of Wyoming. He is a native of Wyoming, 
born on a ranch near Ten Sleep. 

DAVID KATHKA is Wyoming's State Historian and admin- 
istrator of the Parks and Cultural Resources Division of Wyo- 
ming's Department of Commerce. He received his Ph.D. in 
History from the University of Missouri in 1976. He is a past 
president of the Wyoming State Historical Society. For fifteen 
years he taught histonj and served as an administrator at Western 
Wyoming College. 

T. A. LARSON taught History at the University of Wyoming 
for many years before he retired in 1975. He is a past president 
of the Wyoming State Historical Society and the Western Histonj 

JOHN D. McDERMOTT retired in 1966 from a career in the 
federal government where he served as Director of Policy of the 
President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He is a 
historical consultant living in Sheridan. Author of Forlorn 
Hope, an account of the battle of White Bird Canyon and the 
beginning of the Nez Perce Indian War, and other studies, he 
is zvorking on a book about Fort Phil Kearny and the Sioux War 
of 1866-1868. 

RHEBA MASSEY is the Survey Historian/Preservation Plan- 
ner for the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, and 
recently completed the Wyoming Comprehensive Historic 
Preservation Plan. She received a M.A. in History (with a con- 
centration in Historic Preservation) and B.A. in Social Sciences 
from Colorado State University. 

MICHAEL A. MASSIF received a M.A. degree in Histonj from 
the University of Wyoming in 1980. The topic of his master's 
paper dealt with Indian water rights. He is currently the Pro- 
gram Officer for the Wyoming Council for the Humanities and 
teaches a course on the state's history at the University of 

ROBERT W. RIGHTER is an Associate Professor of Histonj at 
the University of Texas at El Paso. He taught at the University 
of Wyoming for a number of years, specializing in Western History 
and Environmental History. He has written extensively about 
Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. He continues to 
research and to write about Western environmental topics. His 
present projects include a historxj of wind energy in the United 
States, and a biography of the geologist and zuestern explorer, 
Ferdinand V. Hayden. 

SHERRY L. SMITH is an Assistant Professor of History at the 
University of Texas at El Paso, and part-time resident of Moose, 
Wyoming. She recently published an article, "Single Women 
Homesteaders: The Perplexing Case of Elinore Pruitt Stewart, " 
/;; the May 1991 issue of the Western Historical Quarterly. 


Papers Presented at Centennial Conference on Wyoming History. 

Opening Overview 
T.A. Larson 

Fur Trade and Militanj History 
Gary Wilson 
John D. McDermott 

Natural Resources: Water and Mining 
Roy A. Jordan 
Michael A. Massie 
David Wolff 

Consenmtion and Public Lands 
Robert W. Righter 
Jude A. Carino 

Native Americans 

Colin G. Calloway 
Margot P. Liberty 

Women's History 
Sherry L. Smith 
Katherine Jensen 

Social and Intellectual History 
Herbert Dieterich 
Paul Fees 

Historic Sites and Buildings 
Rheba Massey 
Sheila Bricher-Wade 
Timothy H. Evans 


Carl V. Hallberg 

Don Hodgson 

A. Dudley Gardner 


Gene M. Gressley 
Mark Junge 
Rick Ewig 

Teaching History 

Robert Campbell 
Randy Adams 
Craig Sodaro 



Adams, Randy, and Craig Sodaro, Wyoming: Courage in a Lonesome Laud, 
review, 108-110 

Allison Commission, 58 

"American Horse (Wasechun-Tashunka): The Man Who Killed Fetter- 
man," Elbert D. Belish, 54-67 

Architecture, "The Preservation of Wyoming's Vernacular Architecture," 
Rheba Massey, 172-174 

Armitage, Susan, Ruth B. Moynihan, and Christiane Dichamp, eds.. So 
Much to be Done: Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontier, 
review, 32-33 

Astoria & Empire, by James P. Ronda, review, 112-113 

Atlas of American Indian Affairs, by Francis Paul Prucha, review, 77 


Barrett, Frank, 15 

Belish, Elbert D., "American Horse (Wasechun-Tashunka): The Man Who 

Killed Fetterman," 54-67 
Bentonite, 28-31 

Bernfeld, Betsy, ed.. Sagebrush Classics, review, 33-34 
Bisbee, William, 51-52 

Bonneville, Benjamin, 94-95, 97-99, 101-102; photo, 93 
"Bonneville's Foray: Exploring the Wind Rivers in 1833," James R. Wolf, 

Boyer, Mitch, 72 
Bozeman Trail, 55-57 

Brown, Frederick H., 47-49, 51, 56, 70; photo, 50 
Brown, Mabel, ed.. First Ladies of Wyoming 1869-1990, review, 114 
Bruhn, Roger, Dreams in Dry Places, review, 35-36 
Burke, Howard, 17 

Calloway, Colin G., "Indian History in Wyoming: Needs and Oppor- 
tunities for Study," 125-130 

Calloway, Colin G., "Snake Frontiers: The Eastern Shoshones in the 
Eighteenth Century," 82-92 

Calloway, Colin G., review of Atlas of American Indian Affairs, 77 

Campbell, Robert A., and Roy A. Jordan, Discovering Wyoming, review 

Carrington, Frances Grummond, 47 

Carrington, Henry B., 43, 45-49, 51-53, 56, 68-69; photos, 47, 50, 71 

Carrington, Margaret, 46, 48, 51; photo, 46 

Casper Centennial, 1889-1989: Natrona County, Wyoming, J890- 1 990, by Irving 
Garbutt and Chuck Morrison, review, 76-77 

Cheyenne, Wyoming, 4-8, 10, 12-13; photo, 9 

"Chinese Emigrants in Southwest Wyoming, 1868-1885," A. Dudley 
Gardner, 139-144 

Clay Spur Bentonite Plant, 28, 31; photo, 31 

Clay Spur Bentonite District, 30-31 

Come Sec the Paradise, review, 106-107 

Cook, Jeannie, Wiley's Dream of Empire: The Wiley Irrigation Project, review, 

Crook, George C, 58-63 
Custer, George A., 58 


Dances with Wolves, review, 105-106 

Davidson, Nellie, 3 

Davis, James E., ed.. Dreams to Dust: A Dianj of the California Gold Rush, 

1849-1850, review, 34-35 
Davis, Cliff, 25 
Denver, Colorado, 3-4, 13 
Dichamp, Christiane, Ruth B. Moynihan, and Susan Armitage, eds., So 

Much to be Done: Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontier, 

review, 32-33 
Discovering Wyoming, by Robert A. Campbell and Roy A. Jordan, review, 

"Doc": The Rape of the Toum of Lovell," by Jack Olsen, review, 73 
"Documents Relating to the Fetterman Fight," John D. McDermott, ed., 

Dreams to Dust: A Diary of the California Gold Rush, 1849-1850, by Charles 

Ross Parke, James E. Davis, ed., review, 34-35 
Dreams in Dry Places, by Roger Bruhn, review, 35-36 

Edens, Walter, review of Dreams to Dust: A Diary of the California Gold 

Rush, 1849-1850, 34-35 
Edmund's Commission, 61-62 

Ehernberger, James L., review of We Took the Train, 113 
Ellis, Cathy, review of Discovering Wyoming and Wyoming: Courage in a 

Lonesome Land, 108-110 
Environmental History, "Reflections on Environmental History and 

Wyoming," Robert W. Righter, 168-171 
Ethnicity, "Chinese Emigrants in Southwest Wyoming, 1868-1885," A. 

Dudley Gardner, 139-145; "The Other Germans in Wyoming," Don 

Hodgson, 145-149 
"Ethnicity in Wyoming," Carl V. Hallberg, 136-139 
Ewig, Rick, review of What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam?, 37 

Fetterman, George, 43 
Fetterman Fight, 49-50, 56-57, 68-72 
Fetterman, William J., 43-53, 55-56, 68-70; photo, 42 
First Ladies of Wyoming 1869-1990, edited by Mabel Brown, review, 114 
Fisher, Isaac, 49, 70 
Flitner, Howard, 26 

Fort Phil Kearny, 44-49, 51, 53, 56, bS; photo, 45 
Fremont, John C, 94, 104 

"Fur Trade and Militarv History: VV\oming Historiography and the 19th 
Century," John D. MdVrmott, 131-135 


Gage, Jack, 17 

Garbutt, Irving, and Chuck Morrison, Casper Centennial, 1889-1989: Natrona 

Count}/, Wyoming, 1890-1990, review, 76-77 
Gardner, A. Dudley, "Chinese Emigrants in Southwest Wyoming, 

1868-1885," 139-144 
Gardner, A. Dudley, review of Incident at Bitter Creek: The Stori/ of the Rock 

Springs Massacre, 111 
Ghost Dance, 64-67 
Glafcke, Herman, 5 
Goldacker, George P., 11 
Gorin, Sarah, "Wyoming's Wealth for Wyoming's People: Ernest Wilker- 

son and the Severance Tax— A Study in Wyoming Political History," 

Grant, H. Roger, We Took the Train, review, 113 
Grummond, George W., 47-49, 51; photo, 49 


Hallberg, Carl V., review of "Doc": The Rape of the Town of Lovell and 
Without Evidence: The Rape of fustice in Wyoming, 73 

Hallberg, Carl V., "Ethnicity in Wyoming," 136-139 

Hardaway, Roger D., "William Jefferson Hardin: Wyoming's Nineteenth 
Century Black Legislator," 2-13 

Hardin, Caroline, 3 

Hardin, William Jefferson, 3-13; photo, 2 

Hathaway, Stanley K., 20-26 

Hensley, Marcia, review of Sagebrush Classics, 33-34 

Herschler, Ed, 25 

Hodgson, Don, "The Other Germans in Wyoming," 145-149 

Hosokawa, Bill, review of Come See the Paradise, 106-107 


Incident at Bitter Creek: Tlie Stori/ of the Rock Springs Massacre, by Craig Storti, 

review. 111 
"Indian History in Wyoming: Needs and Opportunities for Study," Colin 

G. Calloway, 125-130 
Indian Water Rights, "Same Decision, Different Results?: Indian Water 

Rights and the Wind River Case," Michael A. Massie, 164-167 

American Horse, 51, 55-64, 66-67; photos, 54, 59, 66 

Cameahwait, 83, 90 

Crazy Horse, 59-60, 67 

Red Cloud, 55-58, 61-62, 64; photo, 59 

Washakie, 83, 91-92; photo, 91 

Blackfeet, 86-92 

Comanche, 84-85 

Eastern Shoshone, 83-92 


Jack, William "Scotty," 15 

Jensen, Katherine, "Rural Women Working: Naming and Evaluating 
Women's Non-Wage Labor," 153-160 

Jensen, Katherine, review of So Much to be Done: Women Settlers on the 

Mining and Ranching Frontier, 32-33 
Johns, Jim, review of Discovering Wyoming and Wyoming: Courage in a 

Lonesome Land, 108-110 
Jones, Walter, review of Casper Centennial, 1889-1989: Natrona County, 

Wyoming, 1890-1990, 76-77 
Jordan, Roy A., and Robert A. Campbell, Discovering Wyoming, review, 

Jordan, Roy A., "Water and Wyoming's Culture," 161-164 
Joyce, Roger G., "Wyoming's Bentonite," 28-31 
Judd, Henry Bethel, 43 
Junge, Mark, review of Dreams in Dry Places, 35-36 


Kathka, David, review of World War 11 and the West: Reshaping the Economy, 

Kathka, David, review of The American West: A Narrative Bibliography and 

a Study in Regionalism, 36-37 
Kathka, David, "Wyoming History in the Centennial Year: An Agenda 

for the Future," 118-119 
Kennedy, Robert, 21 

Laramie County, Wyoming, 4-7, 9-10 

Larson, T.A., "Wyoming History: An Overview," 120-124 

Launius, Roger D., review of Astoria & Empire, 112-113 

Lewis and Clark, 83, 90 

Lodge Trail Ridge, 48-49 


Massey, Rheba, "The Preservation of Wyoming's Vernacular Architec- 
ture," 172-174 

Massie, Michael A., "Same Decision, Different Results?: Indian Water 
Rights and the Wind River Case," 164-167 

Massie, Michael A., review of Written in Water: The Life of Benjamin Har- 
rison Eaton, 75-76 

McCloud, Bill, What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam?, review, 37 

McDermott, John D., ed., "Documents Relating to the Fetterman Fight," 

McDermott, John D., "Fur Trade and Military History: Wyoming 
Historiography and the 19th Century," 131-135 

McDermott, John D., "Price of Arrogance: The Short and Controversial 
Life of William Judd Fetterman," 42-53 

McDermott, John D., review of Dances with Wolves, 105-106 

McGee, Gale, 22 

McGillycuddy, Valentine, 61 

Mclntyre, John J., 15 

Military History, "Fur Trade and Military History: Wyoming His- 
toriography and the 19th Century," John D. McDermott, 131-135 

Morrison, Chuck, and Irving Garbutt, Casper Centennial, 1889-1989: Natrona 
County, Wyoming, 1890-1990, review, 76-77 

Morton, Warren, 25 

Moynihan, Ruth B., Susan Armitage, and Christiane Dichamp, eds.. So 
Much to be Done: Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontier, 
review, 32-33 



Nash, Gerald D., World War II and the West: Rcs}iapi)i;f tlie Ecoiwim/, review, 

Nation, Bill, 17-18 

"New Directions for Wyoming Women's History," Sherry L. Smith, 

Noble, Antonette Chambers, review of Wilei/'s Dream of Empnre: The Wilei/ 
Irrigation Project, 74 

Norris, Jane E. and Lee G., Written in Water: The Life of Benjamin Har- 
rison Eaton, review 75-76 


Olsen, Jack, "Dot""; The Rape of the Town of Lovell, review, 73 
"The Other Germans in Wyoming," Don Hodgson, 145-149 

Parke, Charles Ross, Dreams to Dust: A Diarif of the California Gold Rush, 

1849-1850, review, 34-35 
Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund, 15-16 
Pine Ridge Agency, 61, 64 
"Preservation of Wyoming's Vernacular Architecture," Rheba Massey, 

"Price of Arrogance: The Short and Controversial Life of William Judd 

Fetterman," John D. McDermott, 42-53 
Prucha, Francis Paul, Atlas of American Indian Affairs, review, 77 

"Reflections on Environmental History and Wyoming," Robert W. 
Righter, 168-171 

Righter, Robert W., "Reflections on Environmental History and Wyo- 
ming," 168-171 

Roberts, Philip J., review of First Ladies of Wyoming 1869-1990, 114 

Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association, 15 

Roncalio, Teno, 17-18, 23 

Ronda, James P., Astoria & Empire, review, 112-113 

Rooney, John, 26 

Royer, D.F., 64 

"Rural Women Working: Naming and Evaluating Women's Non-Wage 
Labor," Katherine Jensen, 153-160 

Sagebrush Classics, edited by Betsy Bernfeld, review, 33-34 

"Same Decision, Different Results?: Indian Water Rights and the Wind 

River Case," Michael A. Massie, 164-167 
Severance Tax, 15-27 
Simpson, Milward, 15 
Slack, Edward A., 5 
Smith, Sherry L., "New Directions for Wyoming Women's History," 

"Snake Frontiers; The Eastern Shoshones in the Eighteenth Century," 

Colin G. Calloway, 82-92 
So Much to be Done: Women Settlers on the Miiuiig aiid Ranching Irontier, 

edited by Ruth B. Moynihan, Susan Armitage, and Christiane 

Dichamp, review, 32-33 

Sodaro, Craig, and Randy Adams, Wyoming: Courage in a Lonesome Land, 

review, 108-110 
Storti, Craig, Incident at Bitter Creek: The Story of the Rock Springs Massacre, 

review. 111 

Taylor, William, 29 

Ten Eyck, Tenodor, 46, 49, 51, 68-69; photo, 50 

The American West: A Narrative Bibliography and a Study in Regionalism, by 
Charles F. Wilkinson, review, 36-37 


Wagner, Jeane S., Without Evidence: Tlie Rape of justice in Wyoming, review, 

Wands, Alexander H., 48, 52-53 
Warren, Francis E., 5 

"Water and Wyoming's Culture," Roy A. Jordan, 161-164 
We Took the Train, by H. Roger Grant, review, 113 
Webber, George, 69-70 
What Should We Tell Our Children About Vietnam?, by Bill McCloud, review, 

Wheatley, James, 49, 70 
Whitaker, Ray, 17 
W;7t'i/'s Dream of Empire: The WUey Irrigation Project, by Jeannie Cook, 

review, 74 
Wilkerson, Ernest, 15-27; photo, 14 
Wilkinson, Charles F., The American West: A Narrative Bibliography and a 

Study in Regionalism, review, 36-37 
"William Jefferson Hardin: Wyoming's Nineteenth Centurv Black 

Legislator," Roger D. Hardaway, 2-13 
Wind River Mountains, 94-95, 97-99, 101-102; maps, 96, 99, 103; photos, 

100, 102 
Without Evidence: The Rape of justice in Wyoming, by Jeane S. Wagner, 

review, 73 
Wolf, James R., "Bonneville's Foray: Exploring the Wind Rivers in 1833," 

Women's History, "New Directions for Wyoming Women's History," 

Sherry L. Smith; "Rural Women Working: Naming and Evaluating 

Women's Non-Wage Labor," Katherine Jensen, 153-160 
World War II and the West: Reshaping the Econoniy, bv Gerald D. Nash, 

review, 112 
Wounded Knee, 66-67; photos, 65 
Written in Water: The Life of Benjamin Harrison Eaton, by Jane E. and Lee 

G. Norris, review, 75-76 
Wyoming Automotive Company, 16 
Wyoming Bentonite Company, 30 

"Wyoming History: An Overview," T.A. Larson, 120-124 
"Wyoming History in the Centennial Year: An Agenda for tlio Future," 

David Kathka, 118-119 
Wyoming: Courage in a Lonesome Lvid, b\- Rand\' Adams and Craig Sodaro, 

review, 108-110 
"Wyoming's Bentonite, " Roger G. Joyce, 28-31 
"Wyoming's Wealth for Wyoming's People: Ernest Wilkerson and tlie 

Severance Tax— A Study in Wyoming Political Histor\ , Sarah Conn,